16-Shiite-pilgrims-die-in-Baghdad-suicide-bomb-after-three-other-weekend-attacks. BAGHDAD, At least 16 Shiite pilgrims commemorating the anniversary of the death of an imam died in a Baghdad bombing on Monday after a weekend of violence and unrest.
The attack, which also injured 28 people, occurred in Baghdad’s southwestern Saydiyah district at about noon. No group has yet claimed responsibility.
The attack follows a Baghdad car bombing on Saturday that killed at least 20 people, a pair of bombs that killed at least 38 people in al-Samaway City on Sunday and aplanted bomb explosion that killed one on Sunday in the capital.
The Baghdad bombings come amid heightened tensions in the capital city, as Iraqi protesters led by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr broke into the Iraqi Parliament on Saturday — ransacking the facility. The protesters left the building on Sunday.
The siege led to a declaration of a state of emergency. Sadr told protesters to vacate the Parliament out of respect of the death anniversary of Moussa al-Kadhim, an 8th century imam. Shiite pilgrims will travel to Baghdad’s Kadhimiyah district this week, where Kadhim is buried.
The protesters acted under orders of Sadr. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was to announce a new Cabinet in the Parliament on Saturday, but the meeting was abandoned because not enough parliamentarians showed up. The protesters have been demanding long-awaited anti-corruption reforms and measures to improve the economy.
Sunday’s attack, in which one explosion was followed by another targeting emergency response personnel, occurred at a parking lot in Samawa, about 155 miles south of Baghdad. The Islamic State took responsibility, claiming a militant “blew up his car in the middle of a gathering of the Shiite Ministry of Interior Special Forces” and was followed by a second who “blew up his car and killed more people.”
For the month of April, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq documented at least 741 Iraqis were killed and 1,374 were injured in acts of terrorism, violence or armed conflict.
“It pains us to see the continuing bloodletting and loss of life, particularly among civilians who are paying a high price as a result of bombings and the armed clashes,” Ján Kubiš, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq,said in a statement. “Terrorists have used suicide attacks to target cafés, places of worship, pilgrims and markets in a wicked, unrelenting campaign to cause maximum casualties and inflict untold suffering on the population.”