At least 27 people were killed today and well over 100 wounded as bombers hit out at Shi’ite pilgrims across Iraq.
The pilgrims were just some of the hundreds of thousands of Shi’ites headed to Karbala for a 10 day long ceremony in memory of Imam Hussein, a holiday which has become a favorite target for militants since the 2003 US invasion.
The largest attack hit Hillah, just south of Baghdad, where a pair of bombs killed 13 and wounded 74 others. Another bombing killed nine in the Shi’ite slum of Sadr City.
Though still serious, the attacks so far have not reached the level of past years, when the death tolls were far higher. This year the holiday coincides with Christmas, however, and some of the militants are doubtless busy with plans to attack the nation’s tiny Christian minority.
Iraq has attempted to fortify the city of Karbala during the holiday, commiting some 25,000 security forces to the task. Still, no number of troops is sufficient to protect pilgrims on the open highways of Iraq.