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Bombs in Iraq kill 24, mostly Shiite pilgrims

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published January 17, 2013 at 6:33 a.m. Updated January 17, 2013 at 8:23 a.m.

— Insurgents unleashed a string of bomb attacks mainly targeting Shiite Muslim pilgrims across Iraq on Thursday, killing at least 24 people and extending a wave of deadly bloodshed into a second day.

The outbreak of violence follows nearly two weeks of relative calm, and threatens to inflame rising tensions among Iraq’s ethnic and sectarian groups.

The worst attack took place near Dujail, 50 miles north of Baghdad, where a pair of car bombs exploded near pilgrims who were traveling on foot to a shrine in the town of Samarra.

The head of the Salahuddin provincial health directorate, Raed Ibrahim, said 11 people were killed and more than 60 were wounded in that attack.

“We heard thunderous explosions, and everybody went outside and saw burning cars and several bodies on the ground. Market stalls on both sides of the road were on fire,” said Naseer Hadi, who works in the Dujail post office.

The pilgrims were heading to Samarra to commemorate the death of two prominent Shiite Imams who are buried in the al-Askari shrine there.

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