JNN 15 Dec 2010 : One explosion struck a group of mourners west of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. The other bomb targeted a procession in the town of Khalis, north of the capital.
Attacks on Shia mourners have increased in war-ravaged Iraq in the lead-up to Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH).
Ashura, the tenth day of the first month of the lunar calendar year Muharram, falls on December 16 this year.
Many devout Muslims across the world are also holding ceremonies to mourn the event which is one of the most important occasions on the Shia calendar.
On Ashura day, Imam Hussein (PBUH) and 72 of his companions were martyred while fighting for justice during Karbala battle in Iraq back in the year 680.
On Monday, four people were killed and 17 others wounded in a bomb attack on a group of pilgrims northeast of Baghdad.
Blasts kill Many Shias at Imam Hussein’s Mourning Procession in Iraq
According to Iraqi police and hospital officials, the blasts occurred on Sunday near the provincial council building in Ramadi, Anbar’s capital, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad.
The first explosion was heard at 10 a.m. (0700 GMT), killing at least 17 people, among them six members of the police force.
At least 23 people have also been left wounded in the Sunday attack.
Only minutes later, a second bomb was found in a nearby parking lot. Police say they have detonated it in a safe area.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
Government officials in Anbar, a former al-Qaeda stronghold, have frequently been targeted by militants.
The violence comes days before the climax of the Shia commemoration ceremony of Ashura on Thursday.
The tenth day of Muharram, which is known as Ashura, marks the anniversary of the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson, Imam Hussein (PBUH).
Every year on Ashura thousands of Muslims from all over Iraq and neighboring countries hold mourning ceremonies and many head for the holy city of Karbala, where the shrine of Imam Hussein (PBUH) is located.