10 Jan 2012

Bombings target Shi'ite pilgrims in Iraq

7:56 am on 10 January 2012

Two bombs exploded near Shi'ite pilgrims travelling through the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 15 people and wounding more than 50 others.

The blasts struck the Bayaa district in southwestern Baghdad, where nine people were killed, and the northern Shaab district where the toll was six dead, police and hospital sources said.

Thousands of Shi'ites are making the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Kerbala for the Arbain religious rite.

Iraq is undergoing its worst political crisis in a year after the Shi'ite-led government moved against two prominent Sunni politicians.

The crisis threatens to unravel Iraq's fragile coalition government of Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish factions and has raised fears of renewed sectarian violence.

Pilgrims have been under attack for days in Iraq and last Thursday bombings in mainly Shi'ite areas killed at least 73 people and wounded scores of others.