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Female suicide bomber kills 40 outside Baghdad Shiite shrine
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A woman suicide bomber blew herself up among a crowd of Shiite pilgrims, including Iranians, outside a shrine in northern Baghdad on Sunday, killing up to 40 people and wounding 72 others, an Interior Ministry source said.

A powerful explosion occurred before midday when a women detonated an explosive belt at a checkpoint at the entrance of the Bab al-Qeblah gate of Kadhim shrine in the Shiite neighborhood of Kadhimiyah, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The woman apparently targeted the Iranian group of pilgrims and killed 16 of them and wounded 32 others, the source said.

Earlier, the source put the toll at 37 killed and 53 others injured.

Hundreds of Shiite pilgrims gather outside the shrine, three days ahead of the climax of Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar, which is the day of mourning for the martyrdom of Hussein Ibn Ali, the grandson of Muslims' prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala.

(Xinhua News Agency January 4, 2009)

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