Female suicide bomber in iraq kills 38

A female suicide bomber blew herself up on Sunday among a crowd of pilgrims worshipping at a revered Shiite shrine in northern Baghdad, killing at least 38 people and wounding about 72, the Iraqi army and police said.

The attack during one of the holiest periods for Shiite Muslims came just as Iraqi forces took the lead on security under an agreement with the United States that went into effect on New Year’s Day. Under that agreement, U.S. forces take a back seat on security issues in much of the country following the Dec. 31 expiration of a U.N. mandate for foreign troops.

The attack came as Shiites prepared to mark Ashura on Jan. 7. Falling on the 10th of Muharram under the Islamic lunar calendar, it is one of the most important holy days for Shiite Muslims and marks the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Hussein. The first 10 days of Muharram are often marked by pilgrimages to holy sites around Iraq culminating in the Shiite holy city of Karbala.

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