The death toll in a deadly Saturday suicide bombing on the outskirts of the Iraqi city of Samarra has continued to rise throughout the day, with officials now saying at least 48 people were slain in the attack, and 80 others badly wounded.
The attack, as so many major attacks in Iraq do, involved targeting a busload of Shi’ite pilgrims who were headed to the Sunni-dominated Samarra for a ceremony at the tomb of Imam Hassan al-Askari.
The bombing hit the bus while it was trying to cross a military checkpoint into the center of the city, killing a large number of civilians as well as soldiers. The attack overwhelmed the local medical center, Samarra’s General Hospital.
The hospital was already struggling to cope with the victims of another attack last week against pilgrims heading to the city, Much of the sectarian fighting in Iraq has centered around violence in Samarra, where the al-Askari Mosque’s golden dome was destroyed by a bombing attack in early 2006.
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