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World Middle East 24 Nov 2016 Truck bomb kills 80 ...

Truck bomb kills 80 in Iraq, mostly Iranian pilgrims; ISIS claims responsibility

REUTERS
Published Nov 24, 2016, 8:20 pm IST
Updated Nov 24, 2016, 9:07 pm IST
The pilgrims were en route back to Iran from the Iraqi Shia holy city of Kerbala, where they had commemorated Arbaeen.
A flag bearing a portrait of Prophet Mohammed's grandson, Imam Hussein, flutters above an Iraqi Special Forces vehicle patrolling a northeastern district of the city of Mosul. (Photo: AFP)
 A flag bearing a portrait of Prophet Mohammed's grandson, Imam Hussein, flutters above an Iraqi Special Forces vehicle patrolling a northeastern district of the city of Mosul. (Photo: AFP)

Baghdad: A suicide truck bomb killed more than 80 people, most of them Iranian Shia pilgrims, at a petrol station in the city of Hilla 100 km (62 miles) south of Baghdad on Thursday, police and medical sources said.

Islamic State (IS), the ultra hardline Sunni militant group that considers all Shia to be apostates, claimed responsibility for the attack in an online statement.

 

The pilgrims were en route back to Iran from the Iraqi Shia 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 gas station has a restaurant in its premises that is popular with travellers. Five pilgrim buses were torched by the force of the blast from the explosives-laden truck, a police official said.

Islamic State has intensified attacks over the past month in areas out of its control in efforts to weaken a US-backed military offensive launched on Octber 17 to retake Mosul, the last major city under IS control in Iraq.

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