Thursday, November 24, 2016

Truck Bomb Blast Targets Pilgrims in Iraq, Several Casualties Reported

A truck bomb Thursday ripped through a petrol station where buses packed with pilgrims returning from the Arba'een commemoration in the Iraqi city of Karbala were parked, security officials said.

Several Iranian nationals, who were in Iraq for the Arba'een pilgrimage that ended on Monday, were among the victims, said Iraq's Joint Operations Command, AFP reported.

"At least seven buses with pilgrims were inside the petrol station at the time," a police lieutenant colonel said.

The blast struck in the village of Shomali, 120 kilometers (75 miles) Southeast of the capital Baghdad and around 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Karbala.

According to a security official, several civilians were killed and wounded, including Iranians.

"Those buses were loaded with Iranians, Bahrainis and Iraqis. Ambulances and civil defence are on their way to the site," a police intelligence source told AFP.
  • Reuters also quoted police and medical sources saying that the incident was a suicide attack at a gas station in al-Hilla city, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad and said at least 12 civilians were killed and 10 more were wounded.
According to the sources the attack took place at gas station with an adjacent restaurant used by Iranian pilgrims to rest on their way back from the Arba'een pilgrimage in the Shiite holy city of Karbala.

No side has claimed responsibility for the attack, but ISIL terror group has mounted similar attacks in areas outside their control in an attempt to undermine the military campaign in Mosul, the group's last remaining city in Iraq.

Between 17 and 20 million people visited Karbala, home to the mausoleum of Imam Hussein, for Arba'een, which is one of the world's largest religious events.

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