10 Shiite pilgrims killed in attacks in Iraq

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Ten Shiite pilgrims were killed and 29 others injured in three attacks on Saturday after they participated in a religious event in northern Iraq, police said.

Unidentified gunmen attacked convoys of Shiite pilgrims on a main road near the city of Balad, 80 km north of Baghdad, killing eight of them and wounding 15 others, a local police source told Xinhua.

On a bridge north of Balad, other unidentified gunmen also opened fire on Shiite pilgrims, killing one of them and injured five others, the source added.

One Shiite pilgrim was killed and nine others were wounded as several districts in Samarra, 120 km north of Baghdad, came under mortar fire, local police said.

The Shiite pilgrims participated in the commemoration of the death of Imam Ali al-Hadi, one of the 12 holy imams in Shiite Islam.

The remains of Ali al-Hadi and his son Hasan al-Askari, also one of the 12 holy imams, rest at the al-Askari Mosque in Samarra.

Iraq is currently witnessing some of its worst violence in recent years. According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, a total of 8,868 Iraqis, including 7,818 civilians and civilian police personnel, were killed in 2013, the highest annual death toll in years.

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