February 25, 2008 / 10:33 AM / 11 years ago

Death toll from Iraq pilgrim bombing rises to 63

Pilgrims make their way to Kerbala to attend the religious ceremony of Arbain, which falls 40 days after the Shi'ite holy day of Ashura February 24, 2008. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed

HILLA, Iraq (Reuters) - The death toll from Sunday’s suicide bomb attack on Iraqi pilgrims heading to a Shi’ite festival south of Baghdad has risen to 63, a health official said on Monday.

The bomber exploded a suicide vest packed with metal ball bearings in a refreshment tent full of pilgrims heading to the annual Arbain festival, one of Shi’ie Islam’s holiest events, in the southern city of Kerbala.

Sattar al-Jashami, spokesman for the health department in Babil province, said the blast in the town of Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad had killed 63 people, revising previous official estimates of 40 dead.

He had no details about the numbers wounded. Police earlier said women and children were among the victims.

Reporting by Habib al-Zubaidi; writing by Michael Holden; editing by Ross Colvin

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