Terror attacks in Iraq didnâ€™t stop over thirteen million mourners (Azadar’s) from flocking into the holy city of Karbala to mark the Arbaeen (40 days) after the Ashura anniversary commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS) at the hands of then Caliph Yazid son of Moawiya in 680 AD. Â According to the Shiite News Correspondent,Bomb blastings against the Muslim Shiite pilgrims continued on Friday to martyr more than 41 mourners and injure dozens near the Iraqi Shiite shrine city of Karbala, a provincial health official said. The attack came on the final and most important day of the Arbaeen commemoration and was the third major strike this week against Iraq’s Shiite Muslim pilgrims. The official says the blast occurred Friday at about 12:15 p.m. just east of Karbala. The bomb was planted in a civilian car and went off in Al-Shibanat area four km east of Karbala on Friday. Three Iraqi army vehicles were also destroyed in the attack. Friday’s blast comes just days after 54 people were martyred and more than 100 injured on Monday in the same city when a suspected female bomber blew herself up among pilgrims. Hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslims entered Karbala this week, ignoring government warnings that they could be targets of bomb attacks. Pilgrims from around the world have made their way to the city, 80km south of Baghdad, to mark the religious rite of Arbaeen, which culminates on Friday. “The terrorist groups are gathering together all their capabilities to launch attacks during Arbaeen and after it,” Major General Qassim al-Moussawi, Baghdad’s security spokesman, said in a statement. “The coming days will see these terrorist groups carrying out other attempts whenever they get a chance.” Karbala’s governor said mortar fire struck a crowd as the pilgrims headed home from the shrine city, 110 kilometres (68 miles) south of Baghdad, where more than a million devotees had gathered to mark the festival of Arbaeen. “The visitors included Arabs and foreigners from the Gulf states, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan, Canada, Tanzania, the United States, Norway and Belgium,” said the governor, who appealed to neighbouring provinces to provide transport to speed up the pilgrims’ exodus from Karbala. A provincial health ministry official said 41 people were killed and 144 wounded, raising the overall death toll to more than 100 in three major attacks on worshippers who have for weeks been travelling to Karbala on foot for the climax of the event. “A mortar round was launched from fields northeast of the city,” Karbala’s provincial governor Amalheddin al-Hir told AFP. “I accuse al Qaeda who are being supported by the Baath party,” he said, referring to Saddam’s outlawed political movement. Local police said the mortar round crashed into the pilgrims on the outskirts of Karbala as they were leaving the city. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s office blamed Saddam’s Baath party for that attack. “We hold Baathists and their Takfiri (Sunni extremist) allies responsible for this massacre,” it said. Takfiri is a term used by the Iraqi government to refer to al Qaeda members. Arbaeen marks 40 days after the Ashura anniversary commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain(AS) grand son of holy prophet Mohammad (PBUH) , one of Islam’s most revered figures, by the armies of the Yazid in 680 AD.
July 1, 2014