Arba’een Bloodshed: 36 Killed, 81 Wounded across Iraq

by , January 03, 2013

A strong explosion targeting Shi’ite pilgrims killed dozens south of Baghdad. Meanwhile, the release of 11 female prisoners did not stop the latest anti-Maliki demonstration. At least 36 people were killed and 81 more were wounded.

Today marks the climax of Arba’een, a solemn holiday for Shi’ites who flock to Karbala for associated rituals. The observance comes 40 days after the related Ashura holiday, which commemorates the death of Imam Hussein, one of the religion’s most revered figures. About 15 million pilgrims were expected to have passed through Karbala in recent days despite the fear of violence from Sunni insurgents.

Protestors again rallied in Anbar province where they called for the release of prisoners and the resignation of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Earlier in the day, the government released 11 female prisoners, but the gesture failed to satisfy the protestors.

At least 27 people were killed in a suicide bombing in Mussayab. Another 60 were wounded. Witnesses said there were children among the dead. The bombing took place near a bus station that serves as a transfer point between Karbala and other Iraqi cities.

A blast in Baghdad killed another four pilgrims and wounded 15 more.

In Falluja, three policemen were shot and killed. A bomb planted in an orchard wounded a civilian.

Gunmen in Mosul killed a man and wounded his wife.

A bomb in Ramadi wounded four policemen.

Read more by Margaret Griffis