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5 Shiite pilgrims die in bomb attacks in Iraq

BAGHDAD — A string of attacks Saturday against Shiite pilgrims in eastern Baghdad killed five, the latest round of violence to strike worshippers during a revered mourning observance.

Insurgents have targeted Shiite pilgrims, killing dozens and wounding more than 100 last week in an attempt to re-ignite sectarian violence.

The attacks began Saturday morning when a bomb was planted near a tent that offered drinks and food to pilgrims, a police official said. The blast killed three and injured 16, he said. A medical official confirmed the casualties.

Hours later, a bomb exploded near a line of minibuses parked in eastern Baghdad that were carrying pilgrims to the holy city of Karbala, killing two people and injuring seven, said police and medical officials.

In a separate incident minutes later, an attacker hurled a hand grenade into another tent full of pilgrims in another part of eastern Baghdad, injuring six, said a police official.

All the officials spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims are making their way to the southern city of Karbala for Ashoura. The 10-day mourning period culminates today, marking the anniversary of the seventh-century death of the prophet Mohammed's grandson, Imam Hussein, who was killed in a battle near Karbala.

The outcome of the battle caused the split between Shiites and Sunni Muslims.

Iraq has deployed 25,000 security personnel in and around Karbala to protect the pilgrims.

Deaths

As of Saturday, 4,370 U.S. troops have died in the Iraq war. No new identifications were reported by the U.S. military last week.

5 Shiite pilgrims die in bomb attacks in Iraq 12/26/09 [Last modified: Saturday, December 26, 2009 10:56pm]

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