Gunmen Kill 7 Iraqi Pilgrims Near BaghdadBy VOA News
27 July 2008

Iraqi security officials say unidentified gunmen have killed seven Shi'ite pilgrims who were walking to a shrine in the capital for a major religious commemoration.

Officials say the gunmen ambushed the pilgrims Sunday in the town of Madain, south of the capital, as they traveled to a revered mosque in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Kadhimiyah.

The pilgrims were among the tens of thousands of people expected to converge in Kadhimiyah this week to commemorate the death, 12 centuries ago, of one of the 12 Imams of Shi'ite Islam who is believed buried there.

Iraqi military spokesman General Qassim Moussawi says his forces have tightened security around the area.

In other news, Iraqi politicians have been given two days to offer changes to a draft provincial elections law that was rejected last week.

A deputy speaker of parliament, Sheikh Khalid al-Attiyah, on Saturday said committees are trying to determine why the law was rejected and are working to submit a final report to parliament within 48 hours.

Iraq's Presidential Council rejected the draft law Wednesday, sending it back to parliament and most likely delaying U.S.-backed elections that were scheduled for October.

The United States has urged Iraq's government to hold elections by the end of the year, saying the vote would help to further reconcile Iraq's different ethnic groups.

voa news