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26 killed in Baghdad car bombings

At least 26 people have been killed as two car bombings hit a religious procession in the Iraqi capital.

The explosions took place as Shia pilgrims walked to a shrine in Baghdad commemorating an eighth century imam.

The first blast took place near a throng of pilgrims streaming through the Shia neighbourhood of Shula in northern Baghdad, killing 14 people, including two policemen.

The bomb was hidden in a taxi parked among a group of other taxis waiting along the procession route to take pilgrims back home once today's ceremonies are over, a police official said.

The second car bomb attack killed another 12 people, according to authorities.

It took place in Kazimiyah, a few miles from the shrine to the revered imam Moussa al-Khadim.

Saturday is the last day of the pilgrimage, which has already been hit three times this week in some of Iraq's worst violence since US troops withdrew from the country.

The latest attack came after a wave of 22 coordinated explosions killed 72 pilgrims on Wednesday.

Al Qaida's affiliate in Iraq claimed responsibility for those bombings, which mostly hit processions of hundreds of thousands of Shias walking to the Baghdad shrine.

Al Qaida has been unleashing attacks every few weeks, trying to weaken the government of prime minister Nouri al-Maliki and spark another round of the sectarian violence that brought Iraq to the brink of civil war only a few years ago.


From Belfast Telegraph