Attacks on Shiite Pilgrims Jeopardize Sadr Ceasefire

Bombings continue with wheelchair attack
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2008 10:58 AM CST
Iraqi pilgrims reach out for bread in Iskandariyah, 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, on their way to Karbala for Arbaeen, a major religious gathering, Monday, Feb. 25, 2008. Karbala is...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A wave of violence against Shiite pilgrims continued today, with at least seven dying in a pair of roadside bombings, and nerves fraying over an unpopular ceasefire. Shiites are observing one of their most sacred holidays despite a spate of attacks—today's plus at least three yesterday—that are straining supporters of Muqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army, the LA Times reports.  

Many in Sadr’s party grumbled when the cleric extended an August ceasefire on Friday. Now, with security forces failing, pressure will increase to heed those voices. “There is no army or police!” screamed one man injured yesterday. "This is a failed security plan.” Two hundred died during last year’s Arbaeen, a weeklong festival ending Thursday, but many hoped for reduced violence this year.