Middle East News
LEAD: 15 killed in attacks targeting Shiite pilgrims in Iraq (correction)
Jan 9, 2012, 19:45 GMT
Cairo - At least 15 people were killed and over 60 wounded in deadly attacks late Monday targeting Shiite neighbourhoods in Iraq's capital Baghdad.
At least five pilgrims were killed by a suicide bomber southwest of the capital, while they were en route to holy sites in the southern city of Karbala.
Another car bomb went off near a police vehicle in the north-eastern neighbourhood of al-Shaab killing at least seven people.
Earlier, two Kurdish security forces were also killed in the city of Mosul by unknown gunmen.
Shiite pilgrims in Iraq have been under attack for days.
Earlier in the day, at least one Shiite pilgrim was killed and 10 others wounded in a bombing south of Baghdad, the ministry said.
Last Thursday, at least 87 people were also killed when a suicide bomber targeted Shiite pilgrims in the area of Al Batha, 370 kilometres south of Baghdad.
Hundreds of thousands of Shiites are making their way to Karbala's holy Shiite shrine this week. The Arbaeen pilgrimage, as it is known, commemorates the martyrdom of Hussein bin Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.
The attacks come amid one of Iraq's worse political crises, raising fears of escalating sectarian strife.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the Shiite premier, has issued an arrest warrant for Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi and called for the dismissal of his own deputy Saleh al-Mutlaq, also a Sunni Muslim.
A Sunni insurgency and the presence of armed Shiite militias threaten to plunge Iraq into civil war, weeks after the withdrawal of US troops.