Bomb targeting worshippers kills 12 in Iraq

Bomb targeting worshippers kills 12 in Iraq

KIRKUK, Iraq - The Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday began in Iraq Tuesday with a bomb ripping through a crowd of worshippers as they left a Sunni mosque, killing 12 people.

Three children, a policeman and an army officer were among the dead from the blast in the northern city of Kirkuk, which also wounded 26 people, police and a doctor said.

Bodies, their clothes covered in blood, were placed in the back of a small police pickup truck to be taken away, an AFP journalist at the scene said.

Angry and grieving people railed against those who carried out the attack, shouting, "God take revenge on those who are evil!"

Worshipper Khalaf al-Obaidi said he narrowly avoided the blast because he had gone to greet one of his brothers inside the mosque instead of leaving.

"Then the bomb exploded," Obaidi said.

"You look and you see your friend or your brother or your relatives (on the ground). Even an infidel would not do this," he said. "God willing, there will be security and safety for this country and its poor people."

Eid al-Adha, which commemorates the willingness of Abraham (Ibrahim in Arabic) to sacrifice his son at God's command, is the biggest Muslim holiday of the year.

In Iraq and other countries, people mark the holiday by slaughtering an animal such as a sheep and giving the meat to the poor.

As with various other religious occasions in Iraq, observance differs between Sunnis and Shiites. Eid al-Adha begins for Sunnis on Tuesday this year, while most Shiites consider the following day to be the first of the holiday.

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