Baghdad: A car bomb killed at least eight people on a route taken by pilgrims returning from commemorations for a revered Shiite imam in north Baghdad on Saturday, marring a ritual attended by tens of thousands.

An interior ministry official said the bomb, which exploded on the highway near Shuala in the north of the capital at about 12:15 pm (1345 IST), killed eight people and wounded 18.

A medical source said that the Kadhimiyah and Al-Hakim hospitals between them had received 21 wounded people and the bodies of nine others.

The attack came as tens of thousands of Shiite pilgrims flocked to the Kadhimiyah area for the climax of commemorations marking the death in 799 of Imam Musa Kadhim, the seventh of 12 revered imams, who is said to have been poisoned.

On Wednesday, 72 people were killed and more than 250 wounded in bomb and gun attacks across the country, with Al-Qaeda's local affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq, claiming responsibility.

Those attacks included a car bomb on the outskirts of Kadhimiyah that killed seven people, and another blast in Karrada in central Baghdad amid pilgrims' food tents that caused 16 fatalities.


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