Updated at 11:31 p.m. EDT, Aug. 28, 2007
As feared, violence broke out in Kerbala during a pilgrimage to a Shi’ite shrine. Local police have ordered the hundreds of thousands already gathered to leave the city and officially ended observances. Overall, at least 148 Iraqis were killed and 330 were wounded in incidents throughout the country. No foreign military deaths were reported, but a private security contractor from Belfast died from a landmine explosion in Alcoot on Sunday. Also, the The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported that the humanitarian crisis is getting worse.
Violence broke out in Kerbala leaving at least 51 dead and 247 wounded in what may be a battle between two Shi’ite militant groups for control of the territory. The fighting apparently erupted when police, who are loyal to the Badr organization, began to beat pilgrims who were chanting pro-Sadr slogans; police said that gunmen had tried to take over the area. Pilgrims are being told to leave, and the city is now under curfew. Originally, it was believed that Sunni militants would try to disrupt the Shi’ite festival which marks the birth of an important historical imam.
Several other incidents occurred in and around Kerbala. Two men and two women were killed during a melee last night. Snipers killed a boy and wounded his father as they were driving home. Two people were killed on a minibus heading to Baghdad. Also, the number of casualties in yesterday’s clashes rose to seven dead and 35 wounded, up by four dead and 22 wounded.
In Baghdad, 13 unidentified bodies were dumped in separate locations. A kidnapped deputy oil minister was released along with several other people who were also abducted. Snipers wounded four pilgrims in al-Bo’etha. A car bomb in Sheikh Omar killed one person and wounded three others. The Iraqi army reported killing 14 gunmen and detaining 21 others. Gunmen broke into a mosque, killing three men and kidnapping three more. Gunmen burned the Khadimiya office of the Shiite Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC) and kidnapped four men; at the Habibiyah office, five people were killed and 20 wounded. The Amil, Sadr City and Shula offices were also attacked.
A roadside bomb in Baquba wounded 14 people on a bus.
Gunmen wounded six pilgrims in Mahmudiya.
In Albu Ajeel, gunmen killed a police lieutenant colonel.
One pilgrim was killed and three wounded during an armed attack in Iskandariya.
Gunmen wounded two pilgrims in Mahaweel.
Last night in Mussayab, a policeman was killed and his brother wounded.
Coalition forces killed eight suspects and detained 11 in central and northern Iraq.
At the Iranian border near Bachwin, a policeman was wounded as PJAK rebels (Kurdistan Free Life Party) clashed with local policemen. The PJAK, who are linked to Iraq’s PKK party, were asked to leave the area in order to encourage Iran to stop shelling northern Iraq.
Two gunmen were killed during a raid in Daquoq.
The Shiite Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC) in Husseiniyah was attacked but casualties were not reported.
Gunmen injured a man in Hawija.
Violence between the SIIC and Mahdi Army also broke out in Kut.
In Diwaniya, an SIIC office was also attacked.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis