ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – A truck bomb attack on Thursday targeted Shia pilgrims in a town near Hilla, southern Baghdad, killing at least 70 people.
Security forces announced a suicide bomber in a truck struck crowds of Shia pilgrims in the town of al-Shamuli, southern Hilla, in Babylon Province, 60 kilometers south of Baghdad.
The blast targeted Shia pilgrims returning from the Arbaeen pilgrimage at a petrol station and restaurant, killing at least 70 people and wounding 20 others, including Iranians and Bahrainis.
The Islamic State (IS) took responsibility for the attack, claiming the suicide blast killed 80 people, according to a Reuters report.
The security source revealed to Reuters that the pilgrims were on the way to return 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.
“The gas station has a restaurant in its premises that is popular with travelers. Five pilgrim buses were torched by the force of the blast from the explosives-laden truck,” a police source said.
Following the attack, the Iranian Foreign Ministry through its spokesperson Bahram Qasemi condemned the attack without revealing the number of Iranian citizens killed in the attack and stated that Tehran would support Iraq in its fight against terrorism.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany