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Iraq blast kills 23 as pilgrims mass for Ashura

World News : Violence across Iraq, including bombings, killed 23 people on Wednesday as worshippers massed in a shrine city on the eve of major commemoration rituals often targeted by militants.

The bloodshed was the latest in a months-long surge in unrest that has forced Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to appeal for Washington’s help in combatting militancy as Iraqi action has failed to stem the unrelenting wave of attacks.

Bombings on Wednesday mostly struck north and west of Baghdad, targeting the pilgrims and the members of security forces.

On the outskirts of Baquba, north of the capital and one of Iraq’s most violent areas, three coordinated bombs struck a gathering of pilgrims marking Ashura.

Overall, eight people were killed and 25 others were wounded in the blasts, security and medical officials said.

Millions of pilgrims from Iraq and around the world mark Ashura, which this year climaxes on Thursday, by setting up procession tents where food is distributed to passers-by and pilgrims can gather, or by walking to Karbala, which is home to a shrine to Imam Hussain (AS). Agencies

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