BAGHDAD: At least 31 people were killed and dozens wounded today by a mortar bomb three kilometres east of Iraq’s holy city of Karbala as over one million Shia pilgrims observed a major religious rite, governor Amalheddin al-Hir told AFP.
“A mortar round was launched from fields northeast of the city,” he said. “I accuse al Qaeda who are being supported by the Baath party,” Hir added, referring to the outlawed political movement of executed dictator Saddam Hussein.
The attack on the final and most important day of Arbaeen, one of the holiest events of the Shia calendar was the third major strike this week against Shia pilgrims. Thousands of security forces have been on high alert following a week of blasts.