At least 18 people were killed today in two car bomb explosions in Iraq's holy city of Karbala as crowds gathered for a religious ritual.
The first attack occurred in the morning in a parking lot near busloads of pilgrims on the eastern outskirts of Karbala, 90 kilometers south of Baghdad.
Six pilgrims were killed in that attack. There is a vehicle ban in Karbala for the holy period so pilgrims are dropped off at parking lots and walk in.
A second car bomb, hours later, struck pilgrims on the southern edge of the city, killing at least 12 people.
Today's attacks followed a triple suicide bombing last week near Karbala that killed 56 -- most of them Shi'ite pilgrims.
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims are in Karbala for ceremonies marking the end of Arbaeen, a mourning period to observe the seventh century death of the Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson.
compiled from agency reports
WATCH: Hundreds of thousands of Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims from Iraq, Iran, and other Shi'ite communities arrived in Iraq's holy city of Karbala for ceremonies marking the end of Arbaeen, a mourning period to observe the 7th-century death of the Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson. The ceremony has been regularly targeted by Sunni Islamist Al-Qaeda and other militants since the 2003 fall of Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.