BAGHDAD — Insurgents unleashed a string of bomb attacks mainly targeting Shi’ite Muslim pilgrims across Iraq on Thursday, killing at least 26 people and extending a deadly wave of bloodshed into a second day.
The violence that left nearly 60 dead since Wednesday followed nearly two weeks of relative calm and threatened to fuel tensions among Iraq’s ethnic and sectarian groups. Shi’ite pilgrims are a favorite target for Sunni insurgents who seek to undermine the country’s Shi’ite-led government and provoke sectarian fighting.
The worst attack was near Dujail, 50 miles north of Baghdad, where a pair of car bombs exploded near pilgrims who were walking to a shrine in Samarra.
The head of the Salahuddin provincial health directorate, Raed Ibrahim, said 11 people were killed and more than 60 were wounded.
The pilgrims were heading to Samarra to commemorate the death of two prominent Shi’ite imams who are buried in the shrine.
The attacks in Dujail came hours after a car bomb struck a bus carrying foreign pilgrims near the southern Shi’ite holy city of Karbala. Four people were killed and 12 were wounded in that attack, according to police and hospital officials.
In the evening, a roadside bomb blew up as pilgrims walked to Karbala’s Imam Hussein shrine, wounding two.