BAGHDAD – A double car bombing and a shooting killed 34 Shiite Muslims on pilgrimage in Iraq on Monday, the deadliest in a wave of attacks across the country that left at least 65 dead. It was the bloodiest day of violence in nearly two months.
Police officials said the worst attack took place Monday night in the southern Baghdad suburb of al-Rasheed when two car bombs struck a group of Shiite pilgrims walking to the holy Shiite city of Karbala, killing 23 and wounding 55.
Hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims are making their way to the city to commemorate Arbaeen, the end of 40 days of mourning following the anniversary of the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussein, a revered Shiite figure.
Earlier in the day, gunmen opened fire on a bus in Mosul that was carrying Shiite pilgrims traveling also to Karbala, killing 11 and wounding eight. Mosul is located about 225 miles northwest of Baghdad.
Sunni Muslim insurgents in Iraq frequently attack Shiites, who they consider infidels. Usually, Shiite marches to holy cities are poorly protected by Iraqi security forces.
In other violence on Monday, a group of suicide bombers launched a brazen attack on a police station in the town of Beiji, a former insurgent stronghold 155 miles north of Baghdad, where a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into the main gate of the town police station.
That explosion paved the way for three other suicide bombers who were on foot to storm inside and blow themselves up in the building, a police officer said. Eight policemen, including an officer, were killed while five were wounded in the attack, he said.
Later in the morning, several bombings hit different parts of Baghdad and northern Iraq, police said.
In southeastern Baghdad, a parked car bomb ripped through a parking lot, killing six civilians and wounding 12.
Another parked car bomb went off in the central Salhia neighborhood near the heavily fortified Green Zone where key government offices and foreign embassies are located. That attack killed five civilians and wounded 14.