Iraq suicide bomber kills 27 Shiite pilgrims

Samara (Iraq), Feb 12 (AFP) A suicide bomber detonated anexplosives-laden vest just outside the Sunni-majority city ofSamarra north of Baghdad today, killing at least 27 Shiitepilgrims travelling in a bus, police and hospital sourcessaid.

"About 27 people were killed and about 20 were wounded bya suicide bomber who targeted a bus filled with Shiitepilgrims on a highway just outside Samarra," a hospitalofficial said.

A police source also confirmed the toll.

Samarra houses the gold-domed shrine of revered ninthcentury imam Hassan al-Askari which draws pilgrims from Iraqand round the world.

Saturday marked the annual commemoration of his death.

A car bomb ripped through a procession of pilgrims headedto the shrine on Thursday on the outskirts of the town ofDujail further south killing at least nine pilgrims andwounding 39, a provincial spokesman said.

Tens of thousands of people died in violence sparked bythe destruction of the Askari shrine''s gold dome five yearsago by suspected Sunni extremists loyal to Al-Qaeda.

The mosque itself was built in 944, and the golden domewas added in 1905. (AFP)

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