Female bomber kills at least 40 at shrine in Baghdad

BAGHDAD &mash; A female suicide bomber blew herself up in Baghdad's Kadhimiyah district Sunday morning as thousands of religious pilgrims flocked to the area's holy Shiite Muslim shrine.

The attack, which killed at least 40 and wounded another 72, was the second in eight days in the district. The earlier bombing killed at least 24. On Friday, a bombing south of Baghdad killed 30.

Sunday's bomber got as close to the Shiite shrine in Kadhimiyah as she could before reaching a tent where women are searched to ensure bombers can’t target visitors to the ornate shrine, the burial site of two revered Shiite imams. She detonated herself before she could be searched.

Among the dead were 16 Iranian pilgrims. About 32 of the wounded were also Iranian.

The explosion came during the month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Shiites flock to the shrine in Kadhimiyah to commemorate the Battle of Karbala, the day Hussein, the grandson of the Muslim prophet Mohammed entered the holy city in southern Iraq. Ashura, the day that marks Hussein's death, is Wednesday.

By Sunday afternoon the Kadhimiyah hospital was overflowing with the wounded. The emergency room was filled with the bleeding and the broken. The hallways were filled with cots and stretchers for the overflow of injured.

Outside women wept and repeated the refrain of mourners during six years of violence, death and mourning: "God is great."