Suicide attack kills 40 Shiite pilgrims
A FEMALE suicide bomber yesterday killed 40 people and wounded 81 in the worst of three consecutive days of attacks against Shiite worshippers in Iraq.
The woman detonated explosives in a tent filled with women and children resting during a pilgrimage south of Baghdad, in an assault thought to be the deadliest this year.
Analysts said it demonstrated the determination of some extremists to re-ignite sectarian warfare and underscored the ethnic tensions still simmering in the country.
No group claimed responsibility for the blast, but suicide bombings of Shiite civilians are a hallmark of al-Qaeda.
The attack happened despite a massive security operation by Iraqi authorities to protect the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims streaming into the Shiite holy city of Karbala for religious rituals that culminate on Monday.
But the vast numbers of pilgrims and the distances many of them must travel make it impossible to guarantee their safety against determined extremists willing to die.
The bomb went off at noon on a dusty stretch of road flanked by palm trees beside a railway line near Musayyib, 40 miles south of Baghdad.
Along the routes to Karbala, separate tents for men and women have been set up to offer pilgrims food, drink and a place to rest.
Mussa al-Kadhem, a procession leader, said he had been drinking tea with a group of men when he saw a "suspicious looking woman" – dressed in a full-body black abaya robe and with her face covered – go into the women's tent.
"As soon as some people asked who she was, there was a huge explosion," he said.
Most of the victims were women and children.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west