Iraq bombs kill 70 Shi’ite pilgrims, police
BAGHDAD, (Reuters) - Bombers struck at Shi’ite pilgrims celebrating a religious festival in Baghdad and across Iraq yesterday, killing more than 70 people in one of the bloodiest days since the last U.S. troops left the country in December.
The bombings appeared to be the work of Sunni insurgents who often hit Shi’ite targets to try to reignite the intercommunal violence that killed tens of thousands of people in 2006-2007.
With the government’s Sunni, Shi’ite and ethnic Kurdish parties already locked in a crisis that threatens to shatter their delicate power-sharing agreement, the attacks revived fears that Iraq risked sliding back into sectarian bloodshed.
It was the worst day of violence since early January, when four bombs in Baghdad killed 73, and the latest in a spate of bombings on Shi’ite religious sites. At least 30 people were killed when four blasts hit pilgrims across Baghdad as they marched through the city to mark the anniversary of the death of Shi’ite imam Moussa al-Kadhim, a great-grandson of Prophet Mohammad.
One car bomb exploded outside a Baghdad Shi’ite mosque while another blast tore into groups of pilgrims as they rested at refreshment tents along the route to a shrine in Kadhimiya district.
“A group of pilgrims were walking and passed by a tent offering food and drinks when suddenly a car exploded near them,” said Wathiq Muhana, a policeman whose patrol was stationed near the blast in central Karrada district.