Bomb kills 18 at Shia funeral in Iraq

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Bomb kills 18 at Shia funeral in Iraq

At least 18 people were killed when a large car bomb exploded among mourners crowding into a Shia funeral in Iraq’s Hilla city on Friday, local authorities and witnesses said.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Fri 30 Sep 2011, 10:15 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:48 AM

The blast left burned bodies and damaged vehicles near a Shia mosque where relatives had gathered in a tent for the funeral of a local sheikh, witnesses said. Ambulances ferried three or four people at a time from the scene.

“I was standing on the other side of the funeral tent, and suddenly the place turned into hell, all my relatives were cut down and their bodies were burned,” said Haider Qahtan, 37, whose hand was injured in the blast.

At least 18 people were killed and 48 more wounded, a police official at the scene said.

Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, is a mainly Shia city on a route used by pilgrims visiting Shi’ite holy sites in the south of the country.

Violence in Iraq has eased since the sectarian strife took the country to the brink of civil war a few years after the U.S. invasion. But Sunni Islamists tied to al Qaeda and Shia militias still carry out daily attacks.

Sunni insurgents often target Shia pilgrims with car bombs and suicide attacks in an attempt to rekindle sectarian tensions and test Iraq’s government as the last U.S. troops prepare to withdraw by the end of the year.

Recent attacks and incidents in the Sunni heartland of Anbar in western Iraq and in the Shia holy city of Kerbala have fuelled worries of resurgent sectarian violence.

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