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At Least Two Killed Ahead Of Iraqi Shi'ite Ceremony

Iraqi authorities say a car bomb has killed at least two pilgrims on the eve of a major Shi'ite religious ceremony.

On January 2, police and doctors said the pilgrims were killed when a car bomb exploded as they were walking to the holy city of Karbala to take part in the Shi'ite Arbain ritual.

Eight other pilgrims were wounded.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack but Sunni militants often target Shi'ite pilgrims in the run-up to major religious ceremonies.

Arbain marks 40 days after the Ashura anniversary commemorating the slaying of Imam Hussein, one of Shi'ite Islam's most revered figures.

Hussein, the grandson of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, was killed by the armies of the Caliph Yazid in 680 AD.

The ceremonies climax on January 3.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP

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