32 Shi’ite Pilgrims Killed in Iraq Bombings

Attacks Continue as Pilgrims Begin to Return From Karbala

by Jason Ditz, January 03, 2013

Attacks against the Shi’ite pilgrims out for the Arbaeen holiday continued today, with a pair of bombing attacks targeting pilgrims returning home from Karbala, killing at least 32 pilgrims and wounding 50 others.

Attacks earlier in the week killed around 20 pilgrims heading to Karbala, as well as associated security forces protecting them. This is roughly on par with the violence in recent years’ Arbaeen.

The Arbaeen holiday, exclusive to Shi’ite Muslims, was banned under Saddam Hussein, and has become one of the world’s largest pilgrimages since, drawing many millions of Shi’ites to Karbala annually. The pilgrims are regularly targeted by Sunni militant factions, however, both en route to Karbala and on the way home.

The larger of today’s attacks hit in Musayyib, where a car bomb exploded, killing 28 pilgrims and wounding 35 others. The other attack hit a minibus full of pilgrims in Baghdad, killing four and wounding 15.

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