Iraq: 10 dead in attack on Baghdad Shias

Iraq: 10 dead in attack on Baghdad Shias
Car bomb strikes a group of Shia Muslims marking Ashura in Baghdad.
2 min read
02 November, 2014
Shias mourn for Imam Hussein on Ashura [AFP/Getty]
At least 10 Iraqis are dead after a car bomb struck a group of Shias marking Ashura in Baghdad on Sunday, security and medical officials have said.

The blast, which wounded more than 20 people, hit a tent in al-Ilam, an area in the southwest of Baghdad.

Ashura is a major religious event for Muslims, particularly Shias. It marks the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, and one of the most revered figures in Shia Islam.

Hundreds of thousands of Shia pilgrims will flock to the Iraqi shrine city of Karbala, where Imam Hussein is believed to be buried.

Ashura pilgrims have been targeted in the past, but this year sees greater danger with the emergence of the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as ISIS), which controls large parts of Iraq and neighbouring Syria. IS considers Shias to be heretics, and has frequently targeted them with bombings.

The pilgrimage, which peaks on Tuesday, is a major test for the new government of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, as well as for Iraq's security forces, who have struggled to push the militants back.

Iraqi tribe executed

Iraqi Sunnis have also found themselves targeted by IS, with 200 members of the Sunni Albu Nimr tribe executed by the militant group over the past few days, officials and a tribal leader said on Sunday.

The executions happened in Iraq's western Anbar province, large parts of which are controlled by IS.

Shaaban al-Obaidi, a police colonel,
     Anyone who carries the Nimrawi family name on his personal ID [is targeted and killed]
- Faleh al-Essawi, Anbar Provincial Council
told AFP that there were more than 200 people killed, while the deputy head of the Anbar provincial council, Faleh al-Essawi, put the toll at 258.

The victims, "including women and children, all of them from the Albu Nimr tribe," were killed in the past three days, Essawi said.

"Anyone who carries the Nimrawi family name on his personal ID" is targeted and killed by IS, he added, referring to the name carried by members of the tribe.

Sheikh Naim al-Kuoud al-Nimrawi, a leader of the tribe, said that 381 of its members were killed "from the 24th of last month until today".

Some of Iraq's Sunni tribes have been at the forefront of the fight against IS, which has led to the jihadi group labeling them "apostates" - and therefore worthy only of death.

Iraqi officials, as well as those within the US-led coalition targeting IS, have repeatedly said that Iraqi tribes are key elements in the fight against the armed group, since they are able to penetrate areas inaccessible to airstrikes and ground forces.