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Iraqi officials: Suicide car bombing kills 8 Shiite pilgrims returning from Samarra shrine

  • Iraqi security forces and tribal fighters regain control of the Northern neighborhoods after overnight heavy clashes with militants from the Islamic State group in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, April 23, 2015. In the two weeks since militants from the Islamic State group overran central Ramadi, thousands of people have streamed out of the city, fleeing the brutal clashes between the extremists and Iraqi security forces.  (AP Photo)

    Iraqi security forces and tribal fighters regain control of the Northern neighborhoods after overnight heavy clashes with militants from the Islamic State group in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, April 23, 2015. In the two weeks since militants from the Islamic State group overran central Ramadi, thousands of people have streamed out of the city, fleeing the brutal clashes between the extremists and Iraqi security forces. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Displaced people return to their homes, in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, April 23, 2015. In the two weeks since militants from the Islamic State group overran central Ramadi, thousands of people have streamed out of the city, fleeing the brutal clashes between the extremists and Iraqi security forces. With the announcement late Monday that the Iraqi military has retaken key areas in and around the city, the tide has suddenly shifted: Thousands are turning around and heading back toward Ramadi. (AP Photo)

    Displaced people return to their homes, in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, April 23, 2015. In the two weeks since militants from the Islamic State group overran central Ramadi, thousands of people have streamed out of the city, fleeing the brutal clashes between the extremists and Iraqi security forces. With the announcement late Monday that the Iraqi military has retaken key areas in and around the city, the tide has suddenly shifted: Thousands are turning around and heading back toward Ramadi. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

Iraqi authorities say a suicide car bomb went off next to a crowd of Shiite pilgrims near the town of Balad as they were returning from the city of Samarra, killing eight and wounding 16.

Police and a local official in Balad said on Thursday that the attack happened overnight as the pilgrims were returning from a revered Shiite shrine in Samarra.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Samarra is the burial site for two revered 9th century Shiite imams and on Wednesday, there was a ceremony marking the death of one of them.

The region north of Baghdad is predominantly Sunni and last year much of it was seized in a blitz by the extremist Islamic State group.