At least 27 people have been killed and 56 wounded in yet another bombing that targeted Shia pilgrims congregating at Karbala in Iraq.

The car bombing on Friday took place in the Al-Shibanat area four km east of Karbala, Iran’s state-run broadcaster Press TV reported.

However, Karbala’s Governor Amalheddin Al-Hir was quoted as saying a mortar bomb launched from fields northeast of the city caused the carnage. He blamed the Al-Qaeda, backed by the Ba’ath party loyal to the former President, Saddam Hussein, for the attack.

Three Army vehicles were destroyed in the blast, which took place on Arbaeen, the day marking the end of 40 days of mourning after the anniversary of the killing of Imam Hussein, a revered Shia figure from the seventh century. This is the third occasion since this year’s Arbaeen observances began when pilgrims have been attacked within the vicinity of Karbala, which hosts the shrine of Imam Hussein.

The serial killings began on Monday, when a woman suicide bomber killed at least 41 people northeast of Baghdad as a crowd of Shia pilgrims headed towards Karbala. Two days later, a bomb planted on a parked motorcycle went off on the outskirts of Karbala, killing at least 23 pilgrims and wounding 147.

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