Officials: Suicide bomber targets Shiite pilgrims, killing 7

AP News
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Posted: Oct 26, 2015 2:22 PM

BAGHDAD (AP) — A man wearing an explosive belt attacked a tent serving refreshments to pilgrims in Baghdad observing an annual Shiite ritual Monday, killing at least seven people, officials said.

The attack happened in Baghdad's eastern al-Shaab neighborhood. Two police officers were among the dead, a police official said. At least 19 people were wounded in the attack.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, in a communique distributed on Twitter Monday, identifying the attacker as "Abu Thabit." The statement could not immediately be verified but the Twitter accounts used are known to be connected to the extremist group.

The Islamic State group has already claimed a number of attacks on pilgrims and other Shiite gatherings since the start of the holy period of Muharrem, commemorating the death of the Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammed and an iconic Shiite martyr. The group has also frequently targeted members of the Iraqi security forces as it seeks to destabilize the Shiite-led government in its push to expand its self-styled caliphate.

Elsewhere in the capital, another three people were killed in two separate attacks. The first happened in Madain, a neighborhood in southeast Baghdad. Police said a roadside bomb detonated outside a strip of restaurants killing two people and wounding at least 11. Also in the southern neighborhood of Latifiyah, an improvised explosive devise triggered next to a passing military vehicle, killing one soldier and wounding five.

Hospital official corroborated all the casualties. The officials spoke anonymously as they were not authorized to brief the media.

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Associated Press reporter Murtada Faraj contributed to this report.