Suicide truck bomb kills about 100 in Iraq
A suicide truck bomb killed approximately 100 people, most of them Iranian Shi’ite pilgrims, at a petrol station in the district of Shomali near the city of Hilla, 100 km (62 miles) south of Baghdad, on Thursday (November 24), police and medical sources said.
Islamic State, the ultra hard-line Sunni militant group that considers all Shi’ites to be apostates, claimed responsibility the attack in an online statement.
The group also is fighting off a U.S.-backed offensive on its stronghold Mosul, in northern Iraq, in which Iranian-trained Shi’ite militias are taking part.
The pilgrims were en route back to Iran from the Iraqi Shi’ite holy city of Kerbala, where they had commemorated Arbaeen, the 40th day of mourning for the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammad, in the 7th century AD, the medical sources said.
The petrol station has a restaurant on its premises that is popular with travellers. Five pilgrim buses were set afire by the blast from the explosives-laden truck, a police official said.
One eyewitness, Jassim Mohammed, said they were continuing to find body parts of victims on Friday (November 26).
“The blast ravaged the whole area, destroying houses and killing people,” he added.
In recent months Islamic State has intensified attacks in areas out of its control in efforts to weaken the offensive launched on October 17 to retake Mosul, the last major Iraqi city under Islamic State control.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry condemned the attack without giving a casualty toll.
Tehran will continue to support Iraq’s “relentless fight against terrorism,” ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.
U.S. officials also condemned the attack.
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