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Deadly clashes overshadow Iraqi festival

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Deadly clashes overshadow Iraqi festival


Security is tight as pilgrims gather in the Iraqi city of Kerbala to mark one of the holiest days on the Shi’ite calendar. The peaceful atmosphere so far today is in stark contrast to scenes overnight, when clashes between pilgrims and police left at least six people dead.

Witnesses say police opened fire when marchers began pelting officers with stones and other objects. The pilgrims were demonstrating against the strict security measures in place for the religious festival.

Yesterday a suicide bomber killed at least 11 people and wounded 10 at a mosque in Fallujah, west of Baghdad. Authorities say the bomber, who was wearing a belt of explosives, struck as people gathered for evening prayers. The latest violence comes as the West pushes for a new political agreement between Iraqi leaders to reduce sectarian violence.

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