Updated at 6:40 p.m. EST, Feb. 13, 2009
A female suicide bomber entered a tent filled with Arbaeen pilgrims and killed dozens in a third day of significant sectarian attacks. Overall, at least 45 Iraqis were killed and another 91 were wounded across the country. One British soldier was also killed during a shooting incident in southern Iraq. Also, Former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, whose National List made modest gains in provincial elections, insisted that national elections later this year must be made “fairer” that the recent one or else Iraq’s fragile peace will be in danger.
A female suicide bomber killed at least 40 pilgrims and wounded 83 more when she detonated her explosives inside a tent located between Mussayab and Iskandariya. The pilgrims, mostly women and children, were traveling to Karbala for Arbaeen. Large tents, such as this on, dot the routes to Karbala and offer travelers water, food and a simple place to rest. This one serviced families. Arbaeen is one of the holiest observances in the Shi’ite calendar. It marks 40 days since Ashoura, which commemorates the martydom of Imam Hussein, who was Muhammad’s grandson. His death ignited the schism between Shi’ites and Sunnis.
In Baghdad, gunmen stormed a home belonging to a defense ministry officer where they killed him and his son. A man drove a truck over a group of policemen, killing two and injuring four, but this could have been an accident. Gunmen threw a hand grenade at a checkoint and injured three Iraqi soldiers.
In Mosul, the body of a girl, bearing gunshot wounds to her head and chest, was found. Mortars struck a checkpoint and wounded four more soldiers. Yesterday, gunmen wounded a man who was a candidate in recent elections.
Two boys were killed behind a home in Mussayab. As they were playing, they triggered the explosives in an old mortar round.
Two suspects were detained across Babel.
Three Iranian gunmen were detained in Khanaqin. They are suspected of belonging to Iranian intelligence and may have been involved in recent incidents.
Turkish authorities claimed to have killed 13 Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels during air strikes last week in northern Iraq. The PKK said only three rebels were killed. Their nationalities were not released. Meanwhile, Iranian artillery shelled border regions thought to harbor Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) rebels. The PJAK is an offshoot of the PKK group.
Accurate figures are difficult to obtain from these sparsely populated areas. Kurdish rebels would like to see an independent Kurdistan comprised of parts of five countries including Turkey and Iraq. Turkey in particular has been criticized internationally for its treatment of Kurds, but at the same time, the PKK is considered a terrorist group.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis