BABEL / Aswat al-Iraq: Two Shiite visitors were killed and another one was wounded when a car bomb exploded on Wednesday in north of Babel, according to a security source.
"A car rigged with explosives went off targeting a Shiite procession in al-Mahaweel district, north of Hilla, leaving two dead and one wounded," the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
Millions of Shiite visitors have passed through Babel heading for Karbala to commemorate the Arbaeen occasion.
Iraq's holy shrine city of Karbala was gearing up for the climax of annual Shiite mourning rituals, with millions of pilgrims thronging the city amid tightened security.
Arbaeen marks 40 days after the Ashura anniversary commemorating the slaying of Imam Hussein, one of Shiite Islam's most revered figures, by the armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD.
The battle near Karbala is at the heart of the historical division with Islam's Sunni and Shiite sects, a split that fuelled sectarian violence between Iraq's majority Shiite and smaller Sunni population since the 2003 US-led invasion.
Shiite pilgrims visiting Karbala are regularly targeted in attacks by Sunni extremists.
Hilla, the capital of Babel, lies 100 km south of Baghdad.