Iraq: ISIS Claims Responsibility for Truck Bomb Attack That Killed at Least 80

by

Pankaj Kumar

- November 25, 2016


Worst attack on civilians since Baghdad began to drive Isis out of Mosul.

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A suicide truck bomb ripped through a petrol station along a route crowded with Shia pilgrims in southern Iraq on Thursday, killing at least 80 people.

The blast near the city of Hilla was claimed by ISIS and was the worst attack on civilians in Iraq since Baghdad launched an offensive to drive the jihadi group out of the northern city of urban center last month.

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Isis has been venturing up suicide assaults as it loses ground to Iraqi strengths, and Mosul is the jihadis last urban stronghold in the nation. A radical Sunni group, it considers Shia to be apostates and regularly targets them. The vast majority of the casualties of Thursday’s impact were Iranians on journey in southern Iraq.

Iraqi security forces, supported by a US-led international coalition, have reclaimed about 90 per cent of the territory they lost to Isis in a surprise blitz offensive in northern Iraq and neighbouring Syria in 2014.

However, the more Isis loses ground over its self-announced caliphate, the more it is relied upon to expand its assaults the nation over — driving home the message that even as the legislature recaptures domain, it will battle for quite a long time and maybe years to guarantee security.

In July, Isis claimed responsibility for a suicide truck bomb in the busy shopping area of Karrada in Baghdad, which killed nearly  300 people. The impact activated shock against the administration as Iraqis pointed the finger at it for neglecting to give security.

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The attack on Thursday took place as crowds of pilgrims headed back to Baghdad after visiting the city of Karbala, worshipped as a heavenly site by Shia and a place where a large number of individuals ran on Sunday to celebrate Arbaeen, the 40th day of grieving for the passing of Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.

Hussein, the third Shia Imam, was executed in the seventh century and is venerated as a saint by Shia Muslims.

A video uploaded to web-based social networking by a bystander indicated hordes of stupified individuals, gazing at a road covered with flotsam and jetsam and curved metal scraps. Sections of smoke rose overhead and sirens shrieked out of sight.

 “Look at the pieces of flesh and the bodies in the street,” said the person filming.

The petrol station hit in Hilla had a restaurant popular with travellers, and at least five pilgrim buses were set burning by the impact. The buses were carrying pilgrims from Iraq, Bahrain and Iran, according to the AP news agency.

The Isis affiliated news agency, Amaq, said the attack killed or injured 200 people. Iranian news agencies said at least 60 of those killed were confirmed to be Iranian nationals.

The terrorist attack comes at a time when Tehran has been boasting about its ability to deter security threats against the hundreds of thousands of Iranians who flocked to southern Iraq a week ago.

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The pilgrimage to the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf was particularly significant for Iranians this year after Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic ties with Tehran. That meant Iranians faced difficulties getting visas to the kingdom and prevented them performing the annual Hajj in Mecca, the largest and most important pilgrimage in Islam.


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