Three bomb blasts in Iraq killed more than 30 people and injured 75 others as the Shi’ite Ashura ceremonies opened Dec. 24. Double explosions struck near a bus station in Hilla, Babil province, killing 14 police and a provincal councillor. Another blast came about 15 minutes later when police arrived. Authorities said the attacks targeted Shi’ite pilgrims who gathered near the bus station. In Baghdad’s Sadr City, a bomb planted near a funeral tent killed eight people and wounded another 33. In the Shi’ite sacred city of Karbala, where pilgrims were converging for Ashura ceremonies culminating, another bomb killed one and wounded 12.
In Mosul, a 23-year-old Christian was killed when gunmen opened fire on his minibus as he was parking it in front of his house in the east of the city, as Christmas ceremonies in northern Iraq open under tight security. (AlJazeera, AFP, Dec. 24)