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Iraq suicide bomb: Shia pilgrims among nearly 80 dead
  Thursday 24 November, 2016
Iraq suicide bomb: Shia pilgrims among nearly 80 dead

Nearly 80 people, many of them Shia pilgrims, have been killed in a truck bomb attack at a road stop in Iraq, a security official says.
The blast struck at a petrol station and restaurant near Hilla, some 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad.
The road stop was full of people returning from commemorating Arbaeen in the holy city of Karbala. Many of the dead were reportedly Iranians.
The jihadist group Islamic State said it carried out the attack.
It claimed that as many as 200 people had been killed and wounded in the blast, in a statement delivered by its news agency Amaq.
Familiar tactics
Buses carrying Iranian Shia pilgrims appear to have been targeted in the attack, which occurred close to the village of Shomali, 80 km (50 miles) south-east of Karbala.
Some reports say the suicide vehicle was parked, and the force of the blast completely destroyed the petrol station.
Pictures from the scene showed dense black smoke and the wreckage of five minibuses.
Provincial security chief Falah al-Radi told the BBC that Iranians were among nearly 80 people who had been killed and more than 20 wounded in the attack. The toll was expected to rise, he said.

It is a familiar tactic of IS militants to strike in one place when under pressure in another, says the BBC Middle East correspondent Orla Guerin. Iraqi forces are currently pounding the IS-stronghold of Mosul in northern Iraq.
Millions of Shia pilgrims travelled to Karbala to mark Arbaeen, the end of the 40-day mourning period for the third Shia Imam, Hussein. This year it took place on Sunday.
Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, was killed in battle at Karbala in the 7th Century on a day that is known as Ashura. His martyrdom is considered a defining event in the Sunni-Shia schism.
The Sunni militants of IS regard Shia as apostates because of their veneration of the Prophet's family and other beliefs and practices.
Shia pilgrims are a target at this time of year, our correspondent adds. Although around 25,000 security forces were deployed to Karbala for the festival, some had returned to the front lines.
Last week six IS militants were confronted by security forces while on their way to Karbala, official said. Five were shot dead but the sixth blew himself up, killing eight civilians.
Grey line
Deadliest bombings in Iraq in 2016
28 February: Twin suicide bomb attacks hit market in Sadr City, killing 70
6 March: Truck bomb at checkpoint at entrance to Hilla kills 47
11 May: Car bombs in Baghdad kill 93 people, including 64 in market in Shia district of Sadr City
2 July: Truck bombing outside shopping centre in mainly Shia Karrada district of Baghdad kills more than 300

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