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Explosions rock holy city in Iraq

A series of blasts have hit a Shiite holy city in Iraq, killing at least 10 people and wounding scores of others.

Government officials said a total of four explosions struck the city of Karbala over a five-minute period.

Two government officials from Karbala - provincial councilman Hussein Shadhan al-Aboudi and parliamentarian Jawad Kadim al-Hassnawi - said 10 people died in the blasts. The attacks were launched near an office that issues ID cards to Iraqi citizens and also about a half-mile from the city's gold-domed shrine to Imam Abbas.

Two local police and hospital officials put the death toll at 11.

The number of wounded people ranged from 40 to as high as 90.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been trying to dampen tensions between officials in Karbala and Anbar since the deadly September 12 hijacking of the bus, which was headed to a shrine in Damascus, Syria. Four suspects are being held in the case, and al-Maliki's military advisers say at least some foreigners were among the plotters.

Karbala, 55 miles south of Baghdad, is one off the holiest cities in Muslim Shiism because two imams - Abbas and Hussein - are buried there.

Initial casualty reports said three policemen were killed in the attacks, and eight more were among the wounded. Al-Hassnawi, said at least one of the blasts appeared to target police and rescue teams who rushed to the government ID office after the first explosion.


From Belfast Telegraph