BAGHDAD —Back-to-back suicide bombings killed 60 people Friday outside the most important Shiite shrine in Baghdad, a day after the country was rocked by its most deadly violence in more than a year.
The bombings Friday and Thursday—in which nearly 80 people were killed—are the latest in a series of high-profile attacks blamed on Sunni insurgents, police officials said.
The bombers Friday detonated explosive belts within minutes of each other near separate gates of the tomb of prominent Shiite saint Imam Mousa al-Kazim, located in the northern neighborhood of Kazimiyah, said a police official. Another police official said the bombers struck shortly before the start of Friday prayers as worshippers streamed in to the mosque—an important site for Shiite pilgrims.
Among the dead were 25 Iranian pilgrims, said a police and a hospital official. Both said at least 125 people, including 80 Iranian pilgrims, also were injured in the blast.
All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.
The shrine has been a favored target of insurgents, most recently in early April when the a bomb left in a plastic bag near the shrine killed seven people and wounded 23.
In January, a man dressed as a woman blew himself up near the shrine, killing more than three dozen people and wounding more than 70.
Imam Mousa al-Kazim is an eighth century saint, and one of 12 Shiite saints. Hundreds of thousands of Shiites march to the shrine in Kazimiyah every year to commemorate his death in A.D. 799. Shiites believe al-Kazim is buried in the Baghdad golden-domed shrine.
Violence in Iraq is at its lowest levels since the months following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. But the recent attacks in Baghdad and elsewhere have exposed gaps in security as Iraq takes over from U.S. forces in protecting the country.
Funerals began Friday for those killed in the suicide bombings a day earlier in Baghdad and in Diyala province.
Coffins were loaded on trucks near the Baghdad offices of the Iraqi Red Crescent, whose volunteers were distributing food parcels in central Baghdad when a suicide bomber killed 31 and wounded at least 50 others.