BAQUBA, Iraq (AFP) – Two Shiite worshippers were gunned down on Tuesday close to the town of Baquba while leaving a mosque after carrying out rituals as part of the Shiite religious commemoration of Ashura, police said.
“Men in a car opened fire on worshippers who were leaving the mosque, where they were participating in flagellation as part of preparations for Ashura, killing two of them,” said a police officer.
The shooting occurred in the village of Berginiyah, east of Baquba and northeast of Baghdad.
The 10-day Ashura rituals commemorate the killing of Shiite Imam Hussein by armies of the Sunni caliph Yazid in 680.
In the lead-up to it, some Shiites visit mosques to carry out self-flagellation rituals, hitting themselves on their backs with chains attached to sticks.
Meanwhile, in Fallujah, a former insurgent bastion just west of Baghdad, the head of the town’s city council Hamid Ahmed al-Hashim was wounded when a magnetic “sticky bomb” was attached to his car as he left his home.
Also wounded in the attack, which occurred at 10:00 pm (1900 GMT) on Monday, was police Captain Mohammed Shikhan, who was in the car, police said.
Both are in stable condition in Fallujah hospital.
And the house of a policeman in Fallujah was damaged when insurgents planted explosives around the building and set them off at around 2:00 am (2300 GMT).