( AP ) - Two bombs hidden under trash struck Shiites marking Ashoura in northern Iraq on Saturday, killing at least two marchers and wounding five, police said.
The blast occurred as Shiites in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk were beating themselves with chains during the annual procession to commemorate the seventh century death of one of their most revered saints.
Police Brig. Gen. Burhan Tayeb Taha said at least two people were killed and five were wounded.
Iraqi officials stepped up security across much of the country to protect the Shiite processions for the more than weeklong holiday period, culminating in events known as Ashoura.
Authorities fear the Shiite religious events - marking the death of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson whose tomb is in Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad. Security was tight as hundreds of thousands of frenzied Shiites beat their heads and chests in unison and whipped themselves with chains in the holy city.
Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad, has seen a rise in violence as militants have fled security operations elsewhere and ethnic tensions rise over the status of the oil-rich city.