A suicide bomber struck Shiite pilgrims Sunday as they were taking a break during the days-long walk to a Shiite shrine south of Baghdad for a major religious gathering, killing some 40 people and wounding 60.
The attack in Iskandariyah was the second of the day against pilgrims traveling to the holy city of Karbala to mark Arbaeen, the end of 40 days of mourning following the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, one of two revered Shiite figures buried there.
The suicide bomber detonated at a tent where pilgrims can stop and get something to eat and drink, police said.
Some 40 people were killed and 60 were wounded, the U.S. military said, adding that local authorities were still confirming the number of hurt and killed within the first two hours after the attack.
Earlier Sunday, pilgrims were attacked by grenades and small-arms fire in the predominantly Sunni Baghdad neighborhood of Dora, leaving at least three dead and 36 wounded, police said.
Iskandariyah, 30 miles south of the capital, was one of the main cities in an area dubbed the triangle of death for much of the U.S.-led war. But it has seen a recent decline in violence that the U.S. military attributes to a Sunni movement against al-Qaida in Iraq as well as an influx of American troops.