TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iranian pilgrims are forbidden from traveling to the Iraqi city of Samarra until further notice in the wake of a Sunday terrorist attack that killed and wounded scores of Iranian pilgrims in the holy city, an official announced.
Majid Aqababaei, a deputy interior minister for border affairs, told Press Shia Agency on Monday that the decision to ban trips to Samarra has been made for security concerns.
He said the car bomb blast that blew up two buses full of pilgrims in Samarra on Sunday has killed 8 Iranians and wounded 99 others.
According to the official, 88 injured pilgrims were taken back to home by plane on Sunday night, while 11 others have been admitted to Iraqi hospitals.
On Sunday, suicide bombers driving ambulances packed with explosives detonated their vehicles in the Iraqi cities of Tikrit and Samarra, killing dozens of people.
In Samarra, 125 km north of capital Baghdad, an attacker detonated the explosive-laden vehicle in a car park for pilgrims visiting one of Shiite Muslims’ holiest sites, the shrines of Imam Hadi (AS) and his son Imam Hassan al-Askari (AS).
Given the threat posed by the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group in Iraq, the Arab country’s security forces have stepped up security measures in Shiite-majority cities, particularly at religious sites, ahead of Arbaeen.
Arbaeen, which is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, comes 40 days after Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of the third Shiite Imam, Imam Hussein (AS).