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Iraq

Eight killed in rare suicide attacks in Iraq's Karbala region

Six suicide bombers have launched a wave of suicide attacks in the southern Iraqi region of Karbala on Monday, killing eight. The so-called "Islamic State" (IS) has claimed responsibility for the bombings.

Monday's attack in the Ain al-Tamur district is thought to have targeted faithful Shiite pilgrims walking to city of Karbala, located some 50 kilometers (30 miles) away, to commemorate a Shiite martyr.

The so-called "Islamic State" (IS) which claimed responsibility for the attack considers Shiite Muslims to be heretics and have often targeted Shiite places of worship.

Across Iraq, faithful Shiites are currently walking to Karbala, the burial site of Iman Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson and iconic Shiite martyr.

The insurgents reportedly clashed with Iraqi security forces when infiltrating Ain al-Tamer. According to the interior ministry, five of the assailants were killed but the sixth is believed to have fled into a house where he detonated his vest.

According to doctors on the ground, along with the eight people killed, at least another six were wounded.

Fight for Mosul

Ain al-Tamer is located on the edge of the Anbar province, which has long been considered a haven for jihadist insurgents. Nevertheless, attacks are relatively rare in the region, especially when compared to the frequent bombings around Baghdad. The last insurgent attack in Ain al-Tamer was in late August when militants armed with rifles and explosives killed 18 and wounded at least 26.

The majority of Iraqi forces, backed by US-led airstrikes, are concentrated in the north of the country to retake the city of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city and the last major population held by IS.

However, even as IS loses ground, jihadists have been able to strike inside government-held territory. The attacks in Karbala came just a day after a wave of attacks killed at least 23 people and wounded 70 more around the capital of Baghdad. Many of the victims were also Shiite pilgrims walking to Karbala.

dm/ksb (AP, AFP)

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