US and Iraqi forces detained dozens of suspected militants Thursday in a security sweep northeast of Baghdad after a spate of bombings near the Iranian border earlier this week, an army official said.
The raids were launched against the cities of Khanaqin, Balad Ruz and some border villages after the area was struck by bombings on Tuesday targeting Shiite ceremonies commemorating Ashoura, when they mourn the 680 A.D. death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson Imam Hussein.
Hussein was killed as part of a power struggle that produced the split between Shiites and Sunni Muslims.
Security forces arrested 37 suspected militants who were accused of involvement in those attacks, as well as nine Mahdi Army members who had fake passports and army and police IDs, an Iraqi army official said.
Also detained were 14 people who were on wanted lists, as well as an Egyptian and an Afghan, the official said.