Scores killed in Iraq blasts

At least 57 people killed in attacks targeting Shia pilgrims in Baghdad and police in Hilla during religious event

Bombs targeting Shia pilgrims in Baghdad and police in southern Iraq have killed at least 57 people and injured 167 others in a wave of attacks during a major religious festival, police and hospital sources say. 

At least 30 people were killed on Wednesday when four bombs hit Shia pilgrims across Baghdad as they gathered to mark the anniversary of the death of Shia imam Moussa al-Kadhim, a great-grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

In the southern city of Hilla, two bombs, including one detonated by a suicide car bomber, exploded outside restaurants frequented by police, killing 22 people and wounding 38. Two more car bombs killed four people in the mainly Shia city of Balad.

On Sunday at least six people were killed when two mortar bombs struck a Baghdad square packed with Shia Muslim pilgrims.

Earlier this month, 26 people were killed and more than 190 wounded when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive-rigged car outside a Shia religious office in the capital.

Al-Qaeda’s Iraqi affiliate, Islamic State of Iraq, claimed responsibility for the attack on the religious office.

Political tensions have been high in Iraq since the last American troops left in December, with the country’s fragile government, split among Sunni-backed, Shia and ethnic Kurdish blocks, feuding over their power-sharing accord.

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