Bombs hit Iraqi holy city and TV station
Twin car bombs killed 21 people and wounded at least 47 in the Shia holy city of Karbala in southern Iraq on Monday. In Baghdad, four people died in a suicide attack on a Saudi-funded television channel.
The suicide blasts in Karbala, where religious commemoration ceremonies are due to begin on Wednesday, occurred at about 7pm. The first vehicle exploded at a security checkpoint on the southern outskirts of the city. The second blew up a short time later just metres away.
Most of the wounded civilians were pilgrims. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims are expected in Karbala and the nearby holy city of Najaf to celebrate the birthday of Mahdi, the 12th and last imam.
On Monday morning, a suspected Al-Qaeda suicide bomber blew up a car outside the Baghdad offices of Al-Arabiya television in the city centre, killing three security guards and a female office assistant. The attack came a month after the Dubai-based channel was warned of insurgent threats. Some 16 people are reported to have been injured.
Baghdad security spokesman Major General Qassim Atta blamed Al-Qaeda for the attack.
Al-Arabiya, perceived by extremist groups to be pro-Western has been targeted before. In October 2006, seven people died in a bomb targeting its office, and in February 2006, presenter Atwar Bahjat and two colleagues were kidnapped and murdered in the mainly Sunni town of Samarra as they covered the bombing of a Shiite shrine.
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