A worker sweeps the pavement in the Karrada district of Baghdad on October 18, 2013, a day after a car bomb attack outside a restaurant
A worker sweeps the pavement in the Karrada district of Baghdad on October 18, 2013, a day after a car bomb attack outside a restaurant © Ali al-Saadi - AFP
A worker sweeps the pavement in the Karrada district of Baghdad on October 18, 2013, a day after a car bomb attack outside a restaurant
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AFP
Last updated: November 7, 2013

Iraq attacks kill 11 people ahead of Shiite pilgrimage

Attacks in Iraq, including a car bomb targeting Shiite Muslims, killed 11 people on Thursday, officials said, just a week ahead of a major annual Shiite pilgrimage.

The violence follows the start of the Islamic new year and as Shiite Muslims converge on the shrine city of Karbala, south of Baghdad, for commemoration ceremonies.

The bloodshed is the latest in Iraq's worst violence since 2008, with more than 5,500 people dead this year despite tightened security measures and a swathe of operations against militants.

A car bomb in the predominantly-Shiite neighbourhood of Baghdad Jadida, in the capital's east, killed at least three people and wounded nine others, police and medical officials said.

The explosion caused massive damage to nearby houses and shops, and a heavy security presence barred journalists from taking photographs or video, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

The blast comes as pilgrims take part in Ashura commemorations, due on November 14 to mark the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed who was killed in 680 AD by the armies of the caliph Yazid.

His death has become a formative event in Islam, marking the symbolic split between the Sunni and Shiite sects.

Sunni militants frequently attack Shiites, whom they regard as apostates, during Ashura and the subsequent commemorations of Arbaeen.

Meanwhile in Baghdad's southern outskirts, a bomb in a busy street killed at least one person and wounded four others on Thursday, officials said.

And a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle rigged with explosives at the entrance to an army base in the predominantly Sunni province of Anbar, killing three soldiers and wounding six others.

Police arrested a militant filming the blast in the aftermath of the attack.

And four people were killed in attacks north of the capital.

A roadside bombing in Balad killed three people, among them two women, while in the main northern city of Mosul, a gun attack left an off-duty policeman dead, officials said.

In addition to major security problems, the government has failed to provide adequate basic services such as electricity and clean water, and corruption is widespread.

Political squabbling has paralysed the government, while parliament has passed almost no major legislation in years.

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