21 Jan 2011

Pilgrims killed by bombers in holy city

6:02 am on 21 January 2011

Two suicide car bombers in the Iraqi holy city of Karbala have killed at least 45 people and wounded more than 130 others.

The blasts took place on two routes being used on Thursday afternoon by pilgrims taking part in the Shia festival of Arbaeen.

The first bomber struck at the northern outskirts of Karbala at around 3pm and the second at around 3.20pm, some 15km south of the city.

More than a million Muslim pilgrims are expected to visit the city for Arbaeen, which is set to climax on Tuesday.

The festival marks 40 days since the anniversary of the death of the 7th Century Imam Hussein, who is revered by Shias.

Earlier, a suicide bomber killed at least three people in the central city of Baquba - the second such attack in the city in two days.

Separately on Thursday, a roadside bomb appeared to target Shia pilgrims in southern Baghdad, killing one worshipper and wounding nine.

And on Tuesday in Tikrit, the home town of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, a suicide bomber joined a queue of about 100 police volunteers and killed about 60.