Iraq's Shiite holy cities bombed, at least 38 people dead


An Iraqi soldier loads the wreckage of a car bomb that exploded under a bridge in the shrine city of Karbala, some 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Iraq's capital Baghdad, on Nov. 29, 2012.



A series of bomb attacks targeting Shiite communities killed at least 38 people and wounded over 100 in Iraq on Thursday, the AFP reports.

In the city of Hillah, two explosions — a roadside bomb followed by a car bomb targeting first responders — killed at least 27 people, the Associated Press reported form Baghdad.

In Twareej, CNN said eight people died when a bus carrying Shiite pilgrims was hit by a car bomb.

The Wall Street Journal reported a car bomb explosion in Karbala, where pilgrims travel to observe Ashura. Five people died on that blast, according to the WSJ.

Ali al-Haidari, an Iraqi security expert, explained to the AFP:

"What happened is that security forces were in the peak of readiness and activity during the last occasion (Ashura)." But that ended on Nov. 25.

"Security forces usually become tired after such occasions, and the enemy benefits from this directly. In addition to that, there is also the absence of modern technologies which can detect explosives," Haidari said.

On Wednesday, Insurgents attacked Iraqi security forces and civilians, killing at least 30 people, the AP reported. The targets, the wire service said, were Shia mosques in Baghdad.

These attacks are the latest in a recent wave of sectarian violence.

Reuters reports on Thursday's attacks: