A suicide bomb attack in the Iraqi town of Mussayab on Thursday left at least 27 Shi’ite Muslims dead and scores more wounded.
The attack targeted Shi’ites waiting at a bus station on the way home from an event celebrating the Shi’ite festival of Arba’een. The bomber drove a car up to the bus station and then detonated his explosives, killing himself and at least 27 others and leaving around 60 people injured. Mussayab is located approximately 40 miles south of Baghdad.
In a second attack, a roadside bomb hit a minibus carrying pilgrims home from the festival in Kerbala, injuring 8 people.
The Syrian Contagion
Iraq has been no stranger to ethnic tension in the past, with many killings taking place since the U.S. led invasion to oust Saddam. But recently the tensions between Sunni and Shia have been exacerbated by the increasingly sectarian civil war in neighbouring Syria.
In Anbar province, on the border with Syria, there have been two weeks of protests by Sunni Muslims against the Shi’ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Protesters claim that the Prime Minister has marginalised Sunnis and allowed to much influence to Shi’ite neighbour Iran.
There has so far been no claim of responsibility for Thursday’s attacks.