At least 41 people were killed and dozens wounded on Friday in a mortar attack on a crowd of pilgrims near the Iraqi Shiite shrine city of Karbala, a provincial health official said. The official said 144 people were wounded as the mortar round crashed into the crowd on the last day of a major mourning ceremony. The bomb struck Shiite pilgrims who were leaving Karbala, 110 kilometres (68 miles) south of Baghdad, where more than a million devotees had gathered to mark the festival of Arbaeen. It was the third major attack this week on worshippers who have for weeks been travelling to Karbala on foot for the event which reached its climax earlier on Friday.