A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb today alongside a crowd of Shia pilgrims, killing at least 27 people and wounding more than 70, Iraqi police officials said.
It was the third deadly bombing this week in the ceremony in which hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslims have been converging on Karbala, a holy city south of Baghdad.
This week’s violence took place as Iraqi politicians argued over an effort to bar hundreds of candidates from running in the March 7 parliamentary elections because of suspected ties to Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Two mortar rounds hit the same area after the car bomb exploded, an official said, adding that the death toll was likely to rise.
The attack came at the height of the pilgrimage when roads around Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad, were clogged with people trying to reach the city, another police official said.
The crowds made it difficult for ambulances to get to the wounded, he said.
The attack in Karbala was just a short distance from where a motorcycle bomb exploded two days earlier, killing dozens. On Monday, a female suicide bomber killed at least 54 pilgrims in an attack just north of Baghdad.
Iraqi security forces have increased protection for pilgrims but face huge challenges trying to find a single attacker in the crowds.