SAMARRA, Iraq – The toll from a suicide bombing that targeted Shi'ite pilgrims near the city of Samarra, one of Iraq's worst in recent weeks, rose to 48 dead and 80 wounded, police and officials said on Sunday.

The bomber detonated an explosives vest on Saturday at a bus depot at the entry to Samarra, where Shi'ites gathered last week to commemorate the death of one of their 12 revered imams.

The attacker managed to infiltrate a crowd of pilgrims at a security checkpoint where authorities used explosives-sniffing dogs to search vehicles before they entered the city.

"From the cruelty I've seen, it's al Qaeda who carried out this terrorist attack. Al Qaeda insists on undermining stability and peace in Samarra," said Majeed Abbas, a local leader of the government-backed Sunni Sahwa militia.

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