Update 17:00 Eastern: Two car bombs in Baghdad scattered body parts and turned vehicles into burned-out shells, killing 26 in the latest in a wave of attacks targeting Shi'ite pilgrims.
The blasts struck the city's Shula and Kadimiyah neighborhoods Saturday, just a few kilometers from a shrine to revered Imam Moussa al-Kadhim, a great-grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.
Haider Ghareeb saw the explosions:
“When the pilgrims finish their visit they usually come to get a lift from this park where a number of cars are gathered. The blast took place here and when we we arrived we found scattered bodies. What was the reason? What did they do? They are only pilgrims.''
Mohamed Ali says he saw the blast in Shula:
“There is no real security, no real search. Today is an exceptional day – all security forces must be on high alert.”
Saturday was the final day of an annual Shi'ite Muslim religious commemoration, and the bombings were the latest in a series of deadly attacks in Iraq this past week.
Car bombings on Wednesday, at the start of the Shi'ite pilgrimage, killed 72 people and wounded nearly 260.
A group that monitors militant web sites – the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group – said Saturday the al-Qaida affiliate in Iraq claimed responsibility for the earlier attacks. SITE said the militant group praised the attacks as a “blessed Wednesday invasion” against the Iraqi government.
Original: Iraqi officials say a car bomb has hit a major Shi'ite pilgrimage in Baghdad, killing at least 9 people and wounding 15. The attack Saturday came on the last day of commemorations for a revered imam.
Earlier Saturday, a group that monitors militant web sites said the al-Qaida affiliate in Iraq claimed responsibility for a wave of car bombings that killed 72 people and wounded nearly 260 Wednesday at the beginning of the Shi'ite Muslim religious commemoration.
The U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group said the Islamic State of Iraq, aka Al-Qaeda in Iraq, posted a statement on militant forums saying it was behind the bombings. SITE said the militant group praised the attacks as the “blessed Wednesday invasion” that dealt a blow to the Iraqi government.
Most of the bombs Wednesday exploded in Baghdad and the southern Iraqi cities of Hilla, Karbala and Haswa – predominantly Shi'ite areas that have been targeted before by Sunni Islamist insurgents. The bombings marked one of the bloodiest days since U.S. troops withdrew from the country.
The attacks came as pilgrims were headed to shrines to mark the eighth century death of revered Shi'ite religious figure Imam Moussa al-Kadhim, a great-grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The commemorations culminate Saturday. VoA.