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At least 15 killed in bomb attack against Shiite pilgrims in southern Iraq

(Xinhua)

16:05, January 14, 2012

BAGHDAD, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- At least 15 killed and ten wounded in a bomb explosion at a crowd of Shiite pilgrims in Iraq's southern city of Basra on Saturday, a local police source said.

The attack occurred when a bomb detonated among a crowd of Shiite pilgrims gathered near a shrine in the town of al-Zubair south of the oil hub city of Basra, some 550 km south of Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Iraqi security forces sealed off the scene as ambulances and civilian cars were evacuating the victims to nearby hospitals and medical centers, the source said.

Shiite pilgrims mark a major religious ritual of Arbaeen on Saturday, in their cites while hundreds of thousands of them march from different Iraqi cities towards the holy Shiite city of Karbala, some 110 km south of Baghdad, to commemorate the end of 40 days of mourning for Imam Hussein, the Prophet Mohammad's grandson who was killed at the battle of Karbala in 680 A.D..

Insurgents frequently attack Shiite pilgrims who perform communal rituals in Iraq, in attempts to provoke sectarian strife in the violence-shattered country.

Iraqi cities have been plagued by several attacks, including suicide bombings, since the U.S. troops pulled out of the country earlier last month.

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