A powerful car bomb exploded in the Iraqi Shiite pilgrimage city of Kufa on Tuesday, killing 16 people and wounding 38, a medical official told media.
"Our initial count is that 16 people have died and 38 were injured, but this is just preliminary," said the official from the Kufa health department, who is based out of Kufa's Central Euphrates hospital.
Mayor Abu Dhar Yussef told media that a car packed with explosives appeared to have targeted a two-storey restaurant popular with pilgrims who flock to the shrines in this Shiite town 140 kilometres (100 miles) south of Baghdad.
"There were also dozens of shops destroyed in the nearby market place," he added.
Iraq's southern Shiite shrine cities of Najaf, Karbala and to a lesser extent Kufa are often targeted by Sunni insurgents waging a sectarian war against the country's majority population.
More than 50 people were killed in Kufa on December 30 by a car bomb, while on April 28, another 50 were killed by a car bomb in Karbala.