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Old 02-05-2010, 12:16 PM
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Default Re: Iran and events happening there.

With elections coming up the killing continues..

Blasts kill 40 at height of Iraq Shiite pilgrimage..

By CHELSEA J. CARTER, Associated Press Writer Chelsea J. Carter, Associated Press Writer 17 mins ago

BAGHDAD Twin car bombs tore through a crowd of Shiite pilgrims packing a highway as they walked to a holy city south of Baghdad on Friday for a major religious observance, killing at least 40 people and wounding 154 others, Iraqi officials said.

It was the third deadly bombing this week hitting the ceremony in which hundreds of thousands of Shiites have been converging on the city of Karbala. Friday's attack struck during the culmination of the pilgrimage.

This week's violence took place as Iraqi politicians argued over an effort to bar hundreds of candidates from running in the March 7 parliamentary elections because of suspected ties to Saddam Hussein's former regime. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Thursday he would not allow the U.S. ambassador to meddle in the dispute, which Washington fears could hamper Sunni-Shiite reconciliation.

Friday's attack began shortly after noon when a parked car bomb exploded just east of one of three main entrances to Karbala, two Health Ministry officials said. The explosion sent throngs of pilgrims running down the highway and straight into the path of a suicide car bomber who detonated the vehicle, they said.

At least 154 people were wounded in the consecutive blasts, the officials said.

However, an Iraqi police official reported it was two mortar rounds that struck the area, followed by a suicide car bomb. Such conflicting accounts are common in the chaotic aftermath of bombings in Iraq.

The attack came at the height of the pilgrimage when roads around Karbala, 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Baghdad, were clogged with people trying to reach the city by Friday. The crowds made it difficult for ambulances to get to the wounded, another police official said.

The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.
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Blasts kill 40 at height of Iraq Shiite pilgrimage - Yahoo! News

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