Iraq Special Forces.—AFP Photo

BAGHDAD: Gunmen blew up a bomb and opened fire at a bus packed with south Asian pilgrims, killing four men identified as Pakistani citizens, and wounding 11 others north of Baghdad, officials said on Friday.

The coordinated attacks took place late Thursday near the town of Balad. There was no immediate confirmation from the Pakistani embassy.

An initial roadside bomb exploded near the bus carrying at one of the main entrances to Balad, followed by gunmen opening fire on the vehicle before fleeing the scene.

A police lieutenant colonel in the town and a doctor at Balad’s main hospital said four pilgrims, whom they identified as Pakistan Shias, were killed and 11 people were wounded. All of the victims were men.

Iraq, home to some of Shia Islam’s most venerated sites, draws pilgrims from across the world, but they are often the targets of sectarian violence.


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