ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The bombing of a minibus in the central Iraqi city of Karbala on Friday evening killed 12 and injured five, according to local media. Karbala is located about 100 km southwest of Baghdad.
The explosion went off at a checkpoint at the city’s entrance, apparently when an improvised explosive device (IED) that had been placed inside the public bus went off. Aside from the casualties caused by the blast, passengers were seriously injured by flames which engulfed the bus immediately afterward.
The wounded were transported to a nearby hospital to receive medical treatment.
Police said they were investigating the incident, including looking into the driver, one of those wounded. Initial reports indicated that an individual may have boarded the vehicle carrying the explosive device and left it behind after exiting the bus, roughly 1 km before the checkpoint.
On Sept. 10, at least 31 religious pilgrims died and another 100 were injured during a religious ritual in Karbala.
During one of the rituals inside the shrine of Imam Hussein called the “Tweireej run,” the roof of a basement collapsed leading to the deaths and injuries of dozens, sources said.
Following Friday's explosion, Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani released a statement that read, “We strongly condemn the terrorist attack. We extend our condolences to the families of the victims and wish a speedy recovery to those who suffered injuries.”
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic State has carried out similar attacks in the past.
The extremist group occupied large swaths of territory in Iraq in 2014, leading to the death of thousands and the displacement of over six million.
In late 2017, Iraq declared final victory against the Islamic State, but the extremist group continues to launch insurgent attacks, ambushes, and kidnappings across the country.
Editing by John J. Catherine