Iraq at­tack death toll rises to 84

The Jakarta Post - - WORLD -

IRAQ: Gun­men and sui­cide bombers killed at least 84 peo­ple in south­ern Iraq in the dead­li­est at­tack by the Is­lamic State (IS) group since it lost sec­ond city Mo­sul, ac­cord­ing to a new toll re­leased on Fri­day.

Many of the dead in Thurs­day’s at­tack near the city of Nasiriyah were Shi­ite Mus­lim pil­grims, some of them Ira­nian, of­fi­cials said.

“The death toll has risen to 84 af­ter the discovery of 10 more bod­ies at the scene of the at­tack,” said Jassem al-Kha­lidi, health di­rec­tor for Dhiqar prov­ince, which has largely been spared the vi­o­lence that has plagued north­ern and cen­tral Iraq.

“An­other 93 peo­ple were wounded, many of them se­ri­ously,” Kha­lidi told AFP.

The as­sailants struck at mid­day, open­ing fire on a restau­rant be­fore get­ting into a car and blow­ing them­selves up at a nearby se­cu­rity check­point, of­fi­cials said.

They left a trail of de­struc­tion, with charred bod­ies scat­tered on the ground near the burnt-out wrecks of cars, buses and trucks, an AFP cor­re­spon­dent re­ported.

The at­tack was quickly claimed by IS, which ap­pears to be switch­ing to in­sur­gent at­tacks af­ter suf­fer­ing a string of set­backs on the bat­tle­field.

UN en­voy Jan Ku­bis con­demned the “cow­ardly twin at­tacks [...] which re­sulted in nu­mer­ous civil­ian ca­su­al­ties, in­clud­ing many pil­grims.”

Shi­ites have been the tar­get of re­peated at­tack by the Sunni ex­trem­ists of IS who re­gard them as heretics. — AFP

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