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Double bombing kills 50 headed to religious rituals in Iraq

[ 2011-01-21 13:18]     字号 [] [] []  
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A pair of bombs blasted through security checkpoints ringing the Iraqi holy city of Karbala on Thursday and killed at least 50 people, many of whom were Shiite pilgrims headed to observe yearly religious rituals.

Authorities estimated as many as 175 people were injured in the deadly afternoon blasts, at least one of which appeared to be caused by a car bomb.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. But they bore the hallmark of al-Qaida and other Sunni-dominated extremist groups that frequently target Shiite pilgrimages in hopes of re-igniting sectarian violence that brought Iraq to the brink of civil war just a few years ago.

Ali Khamas, a pilgrim from the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City in Baghdad, said he saw a car speeding toward one of the checkpoints, its driver refusing to stop despite warnings screamed by Iraqi soldiers.

"He sped up and blew up his car near the checkpoint," said Khamas, a 42-year-old truck driver. "After the explosion, people started to run in all directions, while wounded people on the ground were screaming for help. I saw several dead bodies on the ground."

Still, Khamas said, the pilgrims continued to head to Karbala: "It will not deter us from continuing our march to the holy shrine ... even if the explosions increase."

The religious rituals mark the end of an annual 40-day mourning period observing the seventh-century death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Imam Hussein is one of the most revered figures among Shiite Muslims and was killed in Karbala in a battle that sealed Islam's historic Sunni-Shiite split.

The bombings were the latest in a three-day barrage of attacks across Iraq that have killed more than 100 people since Tuesday.

On Tuesday, a suicide bomber killed 65 people in a crowd of police recruits in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit.

On Dec 12, a suicide bomber blew up a car outside government offices in the western city of Ramadi, killing 17 people, including women and elderly people waiting to collect welfare checks.


1. In which Iraqi city did the bombs explode?

2. How many people were killed?

3. How many days’ mourning is held for Imam Hussein?


1. Karbala.

2. At least 50.

3. 40 days.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Double bombing kills 50 headed to religious rituals in Iraq

About the broadcaster:

Double bombing kills 50 headed to religious rituals in Iraq

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.