08/07/2009, 00.00
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Shia pilgrims slaughtered, 27 die and many more are wounded in Mosul and Baghdad

In Mosul a bomb explodes as worshippers leave a mosque after traditional Friday’s prayers; 21 are killed and 70 wounded. In Baghdad minibuses carrying pilgrims returning from Karbala are hit. A million Shiites celebrate the birth of the last imam in the holy city.

Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A series of bomb attacks in Mosul and Baghdad have killed 27 people and wounded many more. Today’s casualties come after one person was killed yesterday and three more wounded in another attack aimed at Shia pilgrims on the move for one of their faith’s main celebrations.

In Mosul a suicide car bomber killed 21 people and wounded 70 as mostly Turkmen worshippers left a local mosque after Friday prayers.

In Baghdad a series of attacks took place involving pilgrims travelling by bus on their way back to the capital. .

A roadside bomb struck a pilgrims' bus as it entered the Sadr City neighbourhood, killing three and wounding eight.

Another bomb in east Baghdad exploded as a minivan drove by, killing two and wounding nine.

Today more than a million Shia pilgrims are in Karbala, south of Baghdad, to mark the birth of the 12th and last imam, Mohammed al-Mehdi.

Shia pilgrims on their way to or from Karbala have been the target of bomb attacks in the past. This year the authorities are deploying 20,000 security forces to protect them.

The festival also represents a test for Prime Minister Maliki’s government for it is now in charge of internal security and has promised pilgrims to provide them with a safe environment.

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