Gulf & Middle East
Karbala blast death toll rises to 60
Apr 29, 2007 - 9:22:07 PM

Baghdad, April 29 - A group of angry Iraqis attempted an attack on the residence of Karbala's governor Sunday in the aftermath of a bomb blast that killed at least 60 and wounded 170 in the Shia holy city.

Media reports from Karbala said dozens of the city's inhabitants had flocked to the governor's house, attempting to torch it but were held back by police. Residents called on the governor to resign.

Initially 50 people were killed and at least 70 were injured late Saturday when a car bomb exploded in the city's busy commercial district as worshippers were heading to evening prayers.

The casualty toll rose overnight. Many of the wounded were women and children.

The city southwest of Baghdad has the Imam Hussein and the Imam Abbas shrines, two of Shia Islam's holiest shrines. Security was beefed up overnight, and witnesses said that US military and Iraqi army forces sealed off sensitive sites.

The Iraqi Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution, led by Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim, blamed supporters of ex-dictator Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda for the attack, calling them 'enemies of the Iraqi people'.

Meanwhile, Shia scholar Ayatollah Mohamed Taqi al-Modaresy called on the people of Karbala to form their own defences after 'the failure' of the local security to protect them.

Al-Modaresy said people should form what he called 'security committees' while 'keeping calm, and dealing with the situation wisely'.

The religious scholar also demanded that the authorities reconsider their security plan in Karbala.

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