25 KILLED IN IRAQ AS SHIITES HOLD RITUALS

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BAGHDAD: Throngs of Shiite Muslims converged on a shrine in Baghdad on Saturday for an annual ritual under heavy security, but a string of attacks outside the capital killed 25 people. The bloodshed was the latest in a protracted surge in nationwide unrest that has fueled fears Iraq is slipping back into the all-out communal conflict that plagued it in 2006 and 2007, leaving tens of thousands dead. Much of Baghdad was on lockdown Saturday for the climax of the rites to mark the death of a revered figure in Shiite Islam, with Baghdad’s security forces looking to deter Sunni militant groups which often target Iraq’s majority community. Organisers say millions of pilgrims are expected to visit the shrine in the Kadhimiyah neighbourhood of north Baghdad between Saturday and Sunday, when the commemoration rituals are to climax.

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AFP

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