Suicide car bomber kills 27 Shiite pilgrims in Iraq



Reuters

Published — Thursday 3 January 2013

Last update 4 January 2013 4:42 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

HILLA, Iraq: A suicide bomber driving a car killed at least 27 Shiite Muslims at a bus station in the Iraqi town of Mussayab on Thursday, police and medics said, as they were gathering to return home from a religious rite.
The attack, which also wounded at least 60, underlines sectarian tensions that threaten to further destabilize the country a year after US troops left.
Police said the bomber drove into a busy bus station where pilgrims were catching buses back to Baghdad and the northern provinces after the Arbain rite in the holy city of Karbala, where thousands make an annual pilgrimage.
Mussayab is 60 km (40 miles) south of the capital Baghdad.
“I was getting a sandwich when a very strong explosion rocked the place and the blast threw me away. When I regained my senses and stood up, I saw dozens of bodies,” said Ali Sabbar, a pilgrim who witnessed the explosion.
“Many cars were set on fire. I just left the place and didn’t even participate in the evacuation of the victims.”
Arbain has been a frequent target for militants since the US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, who banned Shiite festivals.
A roadside bomb targeting a minibus transporting Shiite pilgrims back from Karbala also wounded 8 people in New Baghdad.
The latest violence followed nearly two weeks of protests against Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki,a Shiite, by thousands of people from the minority Sunni community in the western province of Anbar, which shares a border with Syria.
The protesters accuse Maliki of being under the sway of non-Arab Shiite neighbor Iran and of marginalizing Sunnis, who dominated Iraq until the 2003 US-led invasion.
They want Maliki to abolish anti-terrorism laws they say are used to persecute them.
The conflict in neighboring Syria, where a Sunni majority is fighting to topple government backed by Shiite Iran, is also whipping up sectarian sentiment in Iraq and the wider region.
Although violence is far lower than during the sectarian slaughter of 2006-2007, a total of 4,471 civilians died last year in what one rights group described as a “low-level war” with insurgents.
No group claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attacks, but Iraq is home to several Sunni armed groups including a local branch of Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq, which often targets Shiites, seeking to re-ignite sectarian strife.
At least 23 people were killed and 87 wounded in attacks across Iraq on Monday.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman prays inside the historic Quba Mosque in Madinah. The king was accompanied by Prince Muqrin, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, head of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques and Prince Sultan bin Salman, ch...
JEDDAH: Shop rentals at certain malls have risen by 200 percent, with this cost likely to be passed on to the consumer, the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) said here recently. Muhammad Al-Shehri, chairman of the JCCI’s textiles and gar...
JEDDAH: People with special needs can now visit a park that has dedicated services for them.Jeddah Mayor Hani Abu Ras opened Al-Erada Park in Al-Salama district on Prince Sultan Street on Thursday.“The Kingdom provides special care for people with di...
JEDDAH: Is involvement in social media the right thing or wrong, particularly in the month of Ramadan? There is a difference of opinion with some arguing that it eats into the time that should be spent praying while some backing it for its religious...
RIYADH: The Argentine government has thanked the Kingdom for previously hosting its Umrah pilgrims for free.“They were part of a group invited by then Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah,” said Ambassador Jaime Sergio Cerda on Thursday.“T...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Education’s counseling department has approved the Rifq Program for the physical and psychological well-being of students.Nabil Mohammad Al-Budair, director of counseling for boys, said the program aims to reduce violence in p...
RIYADH: Sales of fireworks at public markets and main roads in Riyadh have increased during Ramadan, despite the Ministry of Commerce and Industry announcing a SR5,000 reward for anyone providing information about warehouses storing these dangerous i...
RIYADH: The General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) has reported that there were 69,241 work-related accidents in 2014, with expatriates making up 65,509 or 94.6 percent and Saudis 3,732.The accidents were in nine sectors with building and c...
JEDDAH: The Health Ministry’s expenditures over the past five years increased from SR29.29 billion to SR53.73 billion, an increase of about 83 percent.According to a study detailing the ministry’s expenditures between 2008 and 2012 issued by the mini...
RIYADH: Five people from the southern Indian state of Kerala were killed in a road accident at Salwa near Dammam in the Eastern Province early Thursday morning.Manoj Kumar, community welfare attache at the Indian Embassy, told Arab News that the vict...
MAKKAH: The government has deployed eight helicopters over Makkah to track the movement of vehicles and people, and assist in security tasks and medical evacuations.Maj. Gen. Mohammad Al-Harbi, commander of the Interior Ministry’s aviation security d...
JAZAN: A Yemeni woman (A.M.) has once again experienced freedom and a renewed sense of hope in life after reuniting with her family last week on her release from Jazan General Prison, where she spent six years on charges of murder of a citizen in the...
RIYADH: A delegation from the Kingdom recently visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to explore that country’s successful experience in tourism, in a bid to further develop the sector. Saudi Arabia has been making all-out efforts to promote tourism,...
RIYADH: The Justice Ministry has appointed 1,145 candidates for jobs in the judiciary and urged them to complete the requirements for their final appointment. The candidates in the sixth and fourth ranks are requested to fulfill employment prerequisi...
JEDDAH: Four thousand Djibouti workers are expected to arrive in the Kingdom over the next few months following the labor pact signed between the two countries last month.Speaking to a local publication recently, Djibouti Ambassador Diaa Eddin Saeed...

Stay Connected

Facebook