Female bomber kills Iranian pilgrims at start of Shia festival in Iraq

A female suicide bomber killed at least 35 people, many of them Iranian pilgrims, and wounded scores more when she blew herself up amid a crowd of Shia worshippers outside a shrine in Baghdad today. The attack was the second major bombing since US forces came under Iraqi Government authority on January 1. It also occurred as Iraqi leaders expressed confidence in their ability to defend Iraq at a ceremony to mark Army Day. The bomber, dressed in a traditional black Islamic robe, targeted a checkpoint outside the Imam Moussa al-Khadim shrine in Khadamiya, northeast Baghdad, as Shia Muslims prepared to commemorate the death of Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, at a key religious holiday this week. Sunni Islamist extremists such as al-Qaeda have repeatedly targeted the annual event following the 2003 invasion. Today’s bombing will raise questions as to whether the Iraqi police and army can handle security alone.


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