BAQUBA: A suicide bomber detonated an explosives belt among Shia pilgrims walking northeast of the Iraqi capital, one of several attacks that killed a total of nine people Wednesday, officials said.
The bomber struck in the Khales area, killing five people and wounding 10, a police colonel and a doctor said. The colonel said one of the dead was a policeman tasked with guarding the pilgrims, who embraced the bomber just before the attack in an effort to shield others from the blast. It was the latest in a series of attacks on Shia pilgrims in recent days, including two in Baghdad province that killed at least eight pilgrims on Tuesday, and two car bombs targeting pilgrims that left at least 24 dead the day before.
Hundreds of thousands of people, many of them on foot, make pilgrimages to the holy city of Karbala during the 40 days after the annual commemoration marking the death of the Prophet Mohammed´s grandson, known to Shia as Imam Hussein.
The 40th day, known as Arbaeen, falls on December 23 this year.