US condemns terror attack in Iraq

ANI | Updated: Sep 15, 2017 01:47 IST

Washington D.C. [U.S.A.] Sept 15 (ANI): The United States has condemned terror attack in Iraq on Thursday in which at least 60 people were killed.

Addressing a press conference, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said that "we condemn in the strongest terms the barbaric terrorist attacks that took place in Nassiriya, Iraq".

At least 60 people were killed, including some Iranian pilgrims, and over 100 more got injured, when the Islamic State (IS) suicide bombers carried out twin attacks in the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriya.

Wearing security force uniforms and driving stolen army vehicles, the attackers targeted a police checkpoint and two restaurants on a highway near the city of Nassiriya, using car bombs, guns and suicide vests.

The head of Nassiriya's health directorate, Jasim al-Khalidi, said the city's hospital had received 50 bodies while warning that the death toll could rise due to the critical condition of some of the wounded.

Quoting hospital sources, the ABC News reported that at least 10 Iranian pilgrims, who were visiting holy Shiite shrines, were among the dead.

One IS attacker detonated his explosive vest inside a restaurant, south-west of Nassiriya in the Thi Qar province, while three to four others opened fire at the people inside, the Independent quoted police sources as saying.

Yahya al-Nassiri, the area's governor, said that the attack began with the jihadists opening fire at the checkpoint and the restaurant on the main highway that links Baghdad with the southern provinces.

Shortly afterward, two suicide bombers, including one driving a car rigged with explosives, blew themselves, Iraqi officials said.

The attack occurred as Iraqi forces battled to defeat IS terrorists in areas under their control.

IS was quick to claim responsibility for the attack on its official online Amaq publication - the ultra-hardline Sunni Muslim militant group said it had killed "dozens of Shiites".

"After losing the war in Iraq and the shrinking of its power, Daesh [Islamic State] returned back to its old style of an insurgency by carrying out suicide attacks, which is a clear sign that the terrorist group is retreating," the ABC News quoted police intelligence colonel Murtatha al-Yassiri as saying.

Nasiriyah is the capital of Dhi Qar Governorate, which has a large Shiite population.

Shiites and other ethnic and religious minorities have often been targets of Sunni militants in Iraq, including al-Qaeda and Islamic State. (ANI)