BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Gunmen in a speeding car opened fire on Wednesday in the Iraqi capital at two buses carrying Iranian pilgrims, killing an Iranian woman and an Iraqi driver, the Baghdad security command said.
The attack on a main road in northwestern Baghdad also wounded five Iranian pilgrims, according to a statement from the agency read to Reuters over the phone.
The attack came after two bloody days in Baghdad in which more than 50 people were killed by suicide car bombs targeting main hotels and an interior ministry office.
The assaults broke a seven-week lull in major attacks on the capital as Iraq heads into a pivotal general election on March 7 that could set it more firmly on the path to stability or potentially widen its sectarian and ethnic divisions.
Overall sectarian violence has fallen sharply almost seven years after the U.S. invasion, but attacks by suspected Sunni Islamist insurgents aimed at undermining the Shi’ite-led government ahead of the election continue.
The Imam Moussa al-Kadhim shrine, an important Shi’ite Muslim site, lies in the neighborhood where Wednesday’s attack occurred.
The area was cordoned off after the attack, while police and Iraqi soldiers searched for the perpetrators.
Shi’ite pilgrims from Iran have flocked to Iraq in the hundreds of thousands since the fall of Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.
Religious tourism is providing an economic boom for cities like Najaf and Kerbala that are home to Shi’ite holy sites.