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Coordinated blasts target pilgrims north of Baghdad

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Coordinated blasts targeting Shiite pilgrims north of Baghdad killed at least eight people and wounded 10 others on Wednesday, Iraqi security and medical officials told Agence France-Presse.

The bombs exploded near the restive central city of Baquba, targeting a procession of Shiite worshippers commemorating the anniversary of the death of a key figure in their religion.

The pilgrims had been walking in the direction of the shrine city of Karbala to take part in Ashura commemorations, due to peak on Thursday.

The annual event marks the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, who was killed in 680 AD by the armies of the caliph Yazid.

His death became a formative event in Islam, marking the symbolic split between the Sunni and Shiite sects.

Wednesday’s deaths were the latest in Iraq’s worst violence since 2008, with more than 5,600 people killed this year despite tightened security measures and a swathe of operations against militants.

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