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Shia pilgrims killed in bombings

Bombings in and around Baghdad have killed 10 Shia pilgrims as they walked to a holy city in southern Iraq.

In the deadlier of the two attacks, a suicide bomber set off his explosive belt among a group of pilgrims south of Baghdad, near the town of Mahmoudiya. That attack killed six people and wounded 16, police officials said.

The pilgrims were headed to the city of Karbala, 55 miles to the south, to commemorate Arbaeen, the end of 40 days of mourning following the anniversary of the death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Imam Hussein, a revered Shia figure.

About two hours earlier, a bomb blast struck another group of Shia pilgrims in Baghdad, also on their way to Karbala. That bombing, in the south-eastern neighbourhood of New Baghdad, killed four people and wounded 11, the police officials said.

In Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Shia pilgrims make their way every year to Karbala for Arbaeen. Al-Qaida and other Sunni Muslim insurgents frequently target the Shias, whom they consider to be infidel. The Shia marches to holy cities are typically poorly protected by Iraqi security forces.

The bombings came a day after two separate attacks on Shia pilgrims in Iraq killed 34 people.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the attacks were the latest in a wave of violence that has hit Iraq since a security crackdown in April on a protest camp in a northern Sunni town.

AP

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