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40 dead in attacks on Shiite holy day
February 20, 2005 15:04 IST
At least 40 people were killed in a series of bomb attacks in Iraq on Saturday even as thousands of Shiites celebrated Ashura, the holiest day in the year, official sources said.
Majority of the bombings were targetted at Shiites, who recently won the majority in Iraq's first democratic elections in 50 years, and Iraqi checkpoints, sources said.
A suicide bomber blew up his car at an Iraqi army checkpoint in Latifiya, 20 miles south of the capital, killing nine Iraqi soldiers.
Nineteen people died in Baghdad's Aden square when another suicide bomber attacked a bus in Kadhimiya, killing seven Shia pilgrims and injuring 40.
Another suicide bomber on a bicycle rode into a Sunni funeral tent in the mainly Shia Baya district south of the capital, killing four and wounding 37, the sources said.
A mortar attack close to the Al-Nida mosque in Adhamiya killed four, the source added.
Earlier on Saturday, a suicide bomber killed two people in Baquba in an apparent attempt to assassinate an Iraqi general, security sources said.
Another two people were killed when a bomb hit houses in Samarra.
Near Balad, south of Samarra, the corpses of five soldiers were found riddled with bullet wounds and with their hands tied.
Last year the holy day of Ashura saw 181 people dead in Karbala and Baghdad.
Iraqi police said they arrested two leaders of the insurgency, including a high-ranking aide to Iraqi Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab Al Zarqawi.
Earlier reports:Iraq gunbattle kills 36.