TSR: Religion + slaughter = Iraq

Click photo to play
Length: 1:42

WOLF BLITZER: We'll get to those stories in a moment.

First, though, Iraq is facing a furious new wave of violence. At least 30 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded cafe in the Diyala Province. That's north of Baghdad.

The U.S. military says the attack in this mostly Shiite area bears the hallmarks of al Qaeda in Iraq. Shiites are coming under a barrage of bombings and bullets, facing ambush after ambush ahead of a religious holiday this weekend.

CNN's Michael Ware is in Baghdad -- Michael.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, vicious attacks against tens of thousands of Iraqi Shia pilgrims slowly making their way on foot to the southern holy city of Karbala, continue to add to a gruesome toll of dead and wounded in this country over the past three days.

So far, with the holy festival to take place on Saturday, as these pilgrims walk south more than 160 civilians and police have been killed in a wave of suicide bombings and shootings attacking these devotees.

Since the pilgrims first set out earlier this week, there's been at least three suicide attacks and car bombings, the worst of which came on Tuesday in the southern city of Hillah, where at least 114 pilgrims were killed.

However, with three days yet to go before the religious festival peaks on Saturday, American and Iraqi government officials expect the toll of dead and wounded to rise -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Michael Ware reporting for us.

Thank you.