• Twin bombings in southern Iraq kill 33: security officials

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    NAJAF, Iraq: Two bomb blasts in the southern Iraqi city of Samawa Sunday killed at least 33 people and wounded more than 50, security and medical officials said.

    “The hospitals have received 33 dead,” a senior official in the Muthanna health department, which covers Samawa, told Agence France-Presse. An officer in Muthanna Operations Command confirmed the toll.

    They said at least 50 people were also wounded in the blasts in Samawa, 230 kilometers (145 miles) south of Baghdad.

    “Two car bombs went off in town. The first one was at around midday near a bus station in the city center,” a senior police officer in Muthanna province said.

    “The other exploded about five minutes later, 400 meters from the spot of the first explosion,” he said.

    Samawa is the capital of Muthanna and lies deep in Iraq’s Shiite heartland and such attacks there are rare.

    Muthanna also borders Saudi Arabia and a vast Iraqi desert that connects the troubled province of Anbar with the south.

    A car bomb just outside Baghdad on Saturday killed at least 23 people, according to security and medical sources.

    That attack targeted Shiite faithful walking to the northern Baghdad shrine of Imam Musa Kadhim, the seventh of 12 imams revered in Shiite Islam.

    The Iraqi capital remains on high security alert for a whole week as the faithful walk from all over the country to commemorate Imam Kadhim.

    The Islamic State jihadist group, which considers Shiites heretics, almost systematically attempts to target pilgrims marching to holy sites during Iraq’s many religious commemorations.

    But there was no immediate indication that the attacks in Samawa specifically targeted Shiite pilgrims. AFP

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