BAGHDAD: A suicide bomber detonated an explosives belt among Shiite pilgrims in the Iraqi capital on Thursday, killing 10 people, security officials said.
The attack in the Dura area of south Baghdad took place at a tent where pilgrims are served food and drinks on their way to the shrine city of Karbala, the officials said.
Hundreds of thousands of people make pilgrimages to Karbala, many of them of them on foot, during the 40 days after the annual commemoration marking the death of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson, known to Shiites as Imam Hussein.
The 40th day, known as Arbaeen, falls on December 23 this year.
Sunni militants, including those linked to Al-Qaeda, frequently target members of Iraq's Shiite majority, whom they consider to be apostates.
And the throngs of pilgrims on the roads make for an easy target, and they have been hit by a series of attacks in recent days.
On Wednesday, a suicide bomber targeted Shiite pilgrims in Khales, north of Baghdad, killing five people and wounding 10.
The toll would likely have been higher were it not for the selfless actions of a policeman who embraced the bomber just before the attack, in an effort to shield others from the blast.
On Tuesday, two attacks against pilgrims in and near Baghdad killed at least eight people, and on Monday two car bombs targeting pilgrims south of the capital killed at least 24 people.
Violence in Iraq has surged this year to levels not seen since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal sectarian conflict.
More people were killed in the first eight days of this month than in all of December last year.
And more than 6,550 people have been killed since the beginning of 2013, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources. (AFP)