IS Assault On Shi'ite Shrine Kills At Least 37 In Iraq
37 killed, 62 wounded after Islamic State (IS) militants fire mortars on a crowded Shi'ite shrine in Balad
Islamic State (IS) militants have fired mortars on a crowded Shi'ite shrine north of Baghdad, creating a state of confusion that enabled three suicide bombers in military uniforms to infiltrate the compound and blow themselves up, Iraqi authorities say.
At least 37 people were killed and more than 62 were wounded, police and health officials said on July 8.
Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi fired the Baghdad security chief on July 8, as he faced growing protests at the site of a large-scale bombing, where at least 292 people were killed and nearly 200 other wounded earlier this week.
The latest attack occurred in Balad, about 90 kilometers from Baghdad, at the mausoleum of Sayyid Muhammad bin Ali al-Hadi. Crowds of pilgrims had gathered there to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which ends the fasting month of Ramadan.
Two of the bombers detonated their explosives near the gate of the mausoleum, and a third rushed deeper into the shrine itself and threw hand grenades at pilgrims, the authorities said.
At least 20 militants then overwhelmed the police and militia guards and seized control of the compound for about a half-hour before reinforcements arrived from the federal and local police and members of the Popular Mobilization Forces, an irregular militia.
Those forces then clashed with the militants outside the shrine, killing at least seven, authorities said.
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