BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi officials say a suicide bomber has struck a group of Shiites marking a somber religious ritual in eastern Iraq, killing at least 22 people.

Two police officers say the bomber set off his explosives laden belt today among a gathering of Shiites in the town of al-Saadiyah, 90 miles northeast of Baghdad.

The Shiites were observing the Ashoura, an annual commemoration of the 7th century death of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson.

The officers say the attack wounded around 70 people. Two medical officials confirmed the causality figures. All spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to media.

Earlier in the day, a bombing south of Baghdad killed nine Shiite pilgrims.

Ashoura is often targeted by Sunni extremists who consider Shiites to be heretics.

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