Twin-bombing targets Hashd al-Shaabi fighters in northern Iraqi restaurant
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A twin-bombing at a restaurant in the Salahuddin Province on Tuesday killed at least three people and wounded 34 others, security sources said.
Two suicide bombers entered a northern Iraqi restaurant in the town of Hajaj in the Salahuddin Province where they detonated their explosives, killing and wounding several people.
According to security sources, the restaurant was regularly visited by Iranian-backed Shia militia Hashd al-Shaabi who are battling the Islamic State (IS).
The Shia militia did not confirm whether any of its fighters were killed or wounded.
“Two attackers detonated their explosive belts in a restaurant in Hajaj, killing three people and wounding 34,” interior ministry spokesperson Saad Maan said in a statement.
“A third assailant was shot dead by the security forces,” Maan added.
A police lieutenant colonel said the Hashd al-Shaabi fighters, also known as Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), would visit the restaurant often.
No group has claimed responsibility for the violence, although IS has been suspected of involvement.
Last Thursday, the militant group attacked a restaurant and nearby checkpoint in southern Iraq where 84 people were killed and scores more injured.
The assault in the southern city of Nasiriyah was the deadliest claimed by IS since the extremist group’s defeat in Mosul in July.
Since its emergence and subsequent rise in mid-2014, IS has suffered heavy defeats in Iraq and neighboring Syria.
In July, after nine-months of battle, Iraqi forces defeated the militant group in Mosul, its de facto capital and last major stronghold in the country.
Meanwhile, a US-backed, Kurdish-led offensive is ongoing in Syria where the extremists continue to lose territory.
Editing by Ava Homa