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IRAQ WARS
Death toll from Iraqi suicide attack rises to 33

by Staff Writers
Samarra, Iraq (AFP) Feb 13, 2011
The death toll from an attack in which a suicide bomber detonated explosives inside a bus filled with Shiite pilgrims near the Iraqi city of Samarra has risen to 33, medics said on Sunday.

"Our last toll from Saturday's attack is 33 dead and 28 wounded. There are two women among the dead and another two among the wounded," said a medic at Samarra's General Hospital. An earlier toll from the hospital was 30 dead.

Police said the attacker had stormed into a bus filled with Shiite pilgrims at a checkpoint outside Samarra before detonating an explosives-filled vest.

It was the deadliest single attack in Iraq since a January 27 car bomb ripped through a funeral ceremony in a Shiite district of Baghdad, killing 48 people.

The victims of the Samarra attack were all Iraqi Shiites returning from the Sunni-majority city 110 kilometres (70 miles) north of Baghdad which houses the gold-domed shrine of revered ninth century imam Hassan al-Askari.

Saturday marked the annual commemoration of his death.

On Thursday, a car bomb ripped through a procession of pilgrims heading for the shrine near the town of Dujail farther south, killing at least nine pilgrims and wounding 39, a provincial spokesman said.

Tens of thousands of people died in violence sparked by the destruction of the Askari shrine's gold dome five years ago by suspected Sunni extremists loyal to Al-Qaeda.

The mosque itself was built in 944, and the golden dome was added in 1905.

Although violence has fallen in Iraq since its peak in 2006 and 2007, attacks remain common.

Shiite pilgrims have been frequently targeted by militant Sunni groups since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

earlier related report
Suicide bomber kills 30 in Iraq pilgrim attack
Samarra, Iraq (AFP) Feb 12, 2011 - A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a bus filled with Shiite pilgrims returning from mourning rituals in the Iraqi city of Samarra on Saturday, killing at least 30 people, hospital sources said.

"The suicide bomber quickly ran into the bus when it stopped at a checkpoint several kilometres (miles) outside Samarra, and detonated his vest inside the vehicle," a police official said.

"The latest death toll is 30 wounded, among them two women, and 28 wounded, among them also two women," said a medical source at Samarra General Hospital.

"All of the victims inside the bus were Iraqi pilgrims, and casualties included people outside the bus as well," said an ambulance driver who ferried the victims to hospital.

It was the deadliest single attack in Iraq since a January 27 car bomb ripped through a funeral ceremony in a Shiite district of Baghdad, killing 48 people.

Samarra, 110 kilometres (70 miles) north of Baghdad, houses the gold-domed shrine of revered ninth century imam Hassan al-Askari which draws pilgrims from Iraq and round the world.

Saturday marked the annual commemoration of his death.

A car bomb ripped through a procession of pilgrims heading for the shrine on Thursday on the outskirts of the town of Dujail farther south, killing at least nine pilgrims and wounding 39, a provincial spokesman said.

Tens of thousands of people died in violence sparked by the destruction of the Askari shrine's gold dome five years ago by suspected Sunni extremists loyal to Al-Qaeda.

The mosque itself was built in 944, and the golden dome was added in 1905.

Although violence has fallen in Iraq since its peak in 2006 and 2007, attacks remain common.

January was the deadliest month since last September, according to official figures. A two-week surge in violence last month shattered a relative calm in the country.

Data compiled by the ministries of health, defence and interior showed that a total of 259 people -- 159 civilians, 55 policemen and 45 soldiers -- were killed in violence last month.

That figure was the highest since September 2010, when 273 people died.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has blamed attacks against Shiites on "takfiris," an Islamic term for apostates but used by the premier to mean anti-Shiite Al-Qaeda militants.

Shiite pilgrims have been frequently targeted by militant Sunni groups since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.



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IRAQ WARS
Iraq car bomb kills six Shiite pilgrims: police
Samarra, Iraq (AFP) Feb 10, 2011
A car bomb ripped through a Shiite Muslim procession just north of Baghdad on Thursday killing at least six worshippers, a police officer said. Forty others were wounded in the attack, which struck on the outskirts of the mostly Shiite town of Dujail at 1:30 pm (1030 GMT), a police major said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Among the dead and injured were women and children, the off ... read more







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