Iraqi Attacks Mar Shiite Rite

Second day of bloodshed kills 9 as millions mourn death of prophet's grandson
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jan 19, 2008 9:17 AM CST
Devout Shiites cut their heads with blades during an Ashoura procession to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein in Basra, 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Jan. 19,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Bombs and rockets killed at least nine worshipers in two northern Iraqi cities today as millions of Shiites marked the climax of a holy rite under increased security. It was the second day of clashes between security forces and a militant Shiite cult knowns as Soldiers of Heaven. At least 72 people were killed yesterday in confrontations south of Baghdad.

Today's attacks occurred as Shiites marched through the streets in many cities, beating their heads and chests and whipping themselves with chains to conclude the 10-day Ashoura ritual. Strict regulations were in force in Kerbala, where a force of 25,000 kept order. "The security situation in Kerbala is under control," the police chief told Reuters.