Multiple attacks on Shiite pilgrims in Iraq kill 36 people

Shiite Muslim pilgrims arrive on Jan. 19, 2011, in the central Iraqi shrine city of Karbala, 120 kms south of the capital Baghdad, to take part in the upcoming Arbaeen religious festival which marks the 40th day after Ashura. Ashura commemorates the killing of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson the Imam Hussein in the seventh century (680AD) by armies of the caliph Yazid in the battle of Karbala.

Suicide bombers attacked three separate groups of Shia pilgrims traveling in Iraq on Thursday, killing at least 36 people and wounding at least 81.

The pilgrims were traveling to the holy city of Karbala for Arbaeen, which commemorates the end of 40 days of mourning following the anniversary of the death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Imam Hussein.

The first attack occurred in the Baghdad district of Dora. A suicide bomber blew himself up at a refreshment tent, killing 16.

The second attacker detonated his bomb in Youssifiyah, near Baghdad, among a group of ethnic Turkmen pilgrims traveling from Kirkuk. Nine people died.

The third bombing occurred in the town of Latifiyah, and killed at least 11 people.

Violence in Iraq is at its highest level since 2008, with more than 8,000 people killed since January.

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