Last updated: 3 March, 2013

Suicide bomber hits Iraq Shiite shrine city of Karbala

A suicide bomber struck in an area between major shrines in the Iraqi Shiite holy city of Karbala on Sunday, wounding 10 people, while other attacks left five dead, officials said.

Jamal al-Din Shahristani, an official at the Imam Hussein shrine, said an engineer working on a project between the site and the Imam Abbas shrine blew himself up, causing casualties.

A police colonel and employee of a Karbala hospital put the toll from the bombing in the city south of Baghdad at 10 wounded.

The shrines for the two grandsons of the Prophet Mohammed are among the holiest sites in Shiite Islam, and they are visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from Iraq and abroad each year.

Sunni militants frequently target Iraq’s Shiite majority in a bid to increase sectarian tension and undermine the country’s Shiite-led government.

No group claimed responsibility for the latest bombing but suicide attacks are a hallmark of Al-Qaeda’s front group in Iraq.

Also on Sunday, three roadside bombs exploded northeast of the Iraqi capital, killing two people and wounding nine, security and medical officials said, while a magnetic “sticky bomb” killed a soldier in Utayfiyah in north Baghdad.

And gunmen attacked a checkpoint west of the north Iraq city of Mosul, killing two soldiers, an army officer and a doctor said.

Iraq was wracked by bloody sectarian conflict following the 2006 bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra, north of Baghdad, but tensions in the country have since decreased.

Violence has fallen considerably compared to past years, although attacks in Iraq remain common, killing 220 people in February, according to an AFP tally based on security and medical sources.