Iraqi police and medical authorities say more than a dozen people have been killed and tens of others injured in a car bomb attack that targeted a group of Shia pilgrims in the capital, Baghdad.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the attack took place on Sunday afternoon in Baghdad’s southwestern district of Al-Ilam as people were delivering food to the Shia pilgrims heading to the holy city of Karbala, located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of Baghdad.
The Shia pilgrims were on their way to Karbala to commemorate Ashura, which is the tenth day of the lunar month of Muharram and marks the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the third Shia imam.
The blast killed 14 people and wounded 32 others.
Iraqi officials usually blame similar attacks on Takfiri terrorists.
Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and 72 of his loyal companions, were martyred on Ashura in the battle of Karbala against the second Umayyad caliph, Yazid I, in 680 A.D. Imam Hussein was killed after he refused to pledge allegiance to the tyrant ruler.
The mourning services have been in place worldwide since the beginning of Muharram.
The annual Muharram ceremonies, which have been performed for many centuries, symbolize the eternal and unwavering stance of truth against falsehood and humanity’s struggle against injustice, tyranny and oppression, the cause for which Imam Hussein (PNUH) was martyred.
Meanwhile, latest figures provided by the United Nations show that violence in Iraq has claimed at least 1,273 lives in the month of October alone.
The UN casualty figures are lower than the death toll reported by the Iraqi government. Iraq says that, based on statistics gathered by the health, interior and defense ministries, 1,725 civilians and security forces were killed in October.