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Iraqi officials: Twin bombing kills at least 9 Shiites marking somber religious ritual

  • 77b8235e471d0326430f6a706700d8fa.jpg

    Shiite faithful worshippers gather between the holy shrines of Imam Abbas and Imam Hussein, seen in the background, during Muharram, an important period of mourning for Shiites in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. The remembrance of Muharram marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala when Imam Hussein, a grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was killed. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)The Associated Press

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    Shiite faithful worshippers beat themselves with chains as a sign of grief for Imam Hussein during "Muharram," an important period of mourning for Shiites, standing between the holy shrines of Imam Hussein and Imam Abbas, seen in the background, in Karbala, 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. The remembrance of Muharram marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala when Imam Hussein, a grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was killed. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)The Associated Press

  • 2f802f3547250326430f6a7067002ca1.jpg

    Iraqi Shiite faithful worshippers cut themselves with knives during Muharram, marking the anniversary of the 7th century death of Imam Hussein, grandson of Islam's founding prophet Muhammad, in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. The remembrance of Muharram marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala when Imam Hussein, a grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was killed. (AP Photo/Jaber al-Helo)The Associated Press

  • 1fd80d8f45d2fd26420f6a7067006dfc.jpg

    Shiite faithful worshippers beat themselves as a sign of grief for Imam Hussein during "Muharram," an important period of mourning for Shiites, standing between the holy shrines of Imam Hussein and Imam Abbas, seen in the background, in Karbala, 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. The remembrance of Muharram marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala when Imam Hussein, a grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was killed. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)The Associated Press

Iraqi officials say a twin bombing has killed nine Shiites in a town south of Baghdad as they were marking a somber religious ritual.

A police officer says two bombs exploded simultaneously in Hafriyah, about 50 kilometers (32 miles) from the Iraqi capital, as a group of Shiites were observing the Ashoura. The annual ritual commemorates the 7th century death of Prophet Mohammed's grandson.

The officer says the bombing also wounded 31 people. A medical official confirmed the causality figures. Both spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to media.

Ashoura attracts hundreds of thousands of Shiites. It's often targeted by Sunni extremists who consider Shiites to be heretics.

Violence has spiked in Iraq since April with more than 5,500 killed, according to U.N. figures.