7 Iranian pilgrims killed in Iraq attack

July 23, 2009 - 0:0

KERMANSHAH – Heavily armed assailants on Tuesday attacked a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims near the Iraqi city of Baquba, which killed seven pilgrims and wounded 31.

The pilgrims were on their way to holy sites in Iraq and were traveling along a road which links the Iranian border to Baghdad.
The bus was just 40 kilometers away from the Khosravi border point when it came under fire, Qasr-Shirin governor Bahram Teimouri told the Mehr News Agency on Wednesday.
The governor said 5 among the slain pilgrims were women.
The attack took place at 11:00pm local time as they were moving toward Baghdad.
The pilgrims were from Mashhad, northeast of Iran.
Teimouri said the injured were taken to a hospital in the Iraqi city of Khanaqin. The governor added the injured are in a stable condition.
The dead bodies and the injured were transferred to Iran on Wednesday afternoon.
Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization deputy director Hossein Akbari said the caravan sent to Iraq had been organized by travel agencies acting outside the supervision of the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi asked Iraq to act more responsibly in protecting Iranian pilgrims. He stated the (U.S.) occupation of Iraq has provided the ground to terrorists for staging violent acts.
About 53 Iranian pilgrims were killed and over 70 wounded in a suicide attack in northeast of Baghdad on April 24 this year. Iranians were also targets of terrorist acts at Iraqi shrine cities.
“We are unfortunately witnessing such sorrowful events for Iranian pilgrims repeatedly….and we hope the Iraqi official acts more responsibly for protecting the lives of Iranian pilgrims who received Iraqi visa.”