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At least 3 killed by blast near Iraq shrine

  • Car bomb explodes in Iraq, killing three and injuring dozens
  • Blast occurred on Saturday near Imam Ali Holy Shrine
  • Violence comes day before Iraq parliamentary elections
  • Najaf
  • Iraq

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- Three people were killed when a parked car rigged with explosives blew up near a Shiite shrine in the holy city of Najaf on Saturday, the Interior Ministry said.

At least 54 others -- 17 Iraqis and 37 Iranians -- were injured in the attack near the Imam Ali Holy Shrine, which houses the tomb of Ali, cousin of the Prophet Mohammed.

Two of the dead were also Iranians, the interior official said. Najaf, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Baghdad, is frequented by Shiite pilgrims from Iran.

Violence has been on a recent uptick ahead of voting in parliamentary elections Sunday. Security officials are bracing for more such attacks.