Iraq Shiite shrine attack toll rises to 52
The death toll from a bomb attack near a revered Shiite shrine in the central Iraqi city of Karbala has risen to 52, a health official told AFP on Tuesday.
A bomb exploded near the shrine of Imam Hussein, a pilgrimage destination for Shiite Muslims in the centre of the city, on Monday.
Karbala police chief Brigadier General Raed Shakir said the bomb had been planted in the area by insurgents, although other police and health officials said the attack was carried out by a female suicide bomber.
On Tuesday, Salim Kadhim, spokesman of the Karbala health directorate said the death toll from the attack was now at 52, while
75 others were wounded.
He said the dead included five Iranian pilgrims. Eight Iranians were also wounded. The attack came as US Vice President Dick Cheney was on a visit to Baghdad where he met several US and Iraqi leaders to discuss improvements in security across the country.
Soon after the attack, police in Karbala, 110 kilometres south of Baghdad, imposed an indefinite curfew in the central districts of the city.
Insurgents have targeted the Shiite shrine city on a number of occasions in the past five years. On April 28 last year, a suicide car bomb attack near the Imam Abbas shrine, another revered Shiite shrine in Karbala, killed more than 70 people and wounded nearly 160.