Deadly Daesh at­tack hit south­ern Iraq, kills more than 80

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Regional -

THE DEATH toll in Thurs­day's twin ter­ror at­tacks tar­get­ing Iraq's south­ern prov­ince of Thi Qar has risen to 84, a mil­i­tary of­fi­cial said Friday.

The Health Depart­ment had ini­tially put the death toll as 50 af­ter Daesh ter­ror­ists fired ran­domly at a res­tau­rant lo­cated next to the in­ter­na­tional high­way in Thi Qar be­fore det­o­nat­ing a bomb-laden ve­hi­cle near a check­point.

"The death toll rose to 84 af­ter a num­ber of the in­jured suc­cumbed to their wounds at hos­pi­tals across the prov­ince," Capt. Mo­hammed Nayef told Anadolu Agency.

Most of the ca­su­al­ties are Ira­ni­ans, Nayef said, adding the army and po­lice had launched an ex­ten­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the at­tack.

Nayef went on to say that "ini­tial find­ings sug­gest that the Daesh el­e­ments man­aged to reach there [the site of at­tack] via desert roads free of pres­ence of the se­cu­rity forces".

The Turk­ish For­eign Min­istry is­sued a state­ment Thurs­day con­demn­ing the at­tacks. "We also ex­press our con­do­lences to the fel­low peo­ples of Iraq and Iran," said the state­ment.

The at­tack be­gan as a shoot­ing at a check­point and res­tau­rant along the main road that con­nects the prov­ince to Bagh­dad, fol­lowed by two sui­cide bombers, one driv­ing an ex­plo­sives-laden car.

The spir­i­tual leader of Iraq's Shi­ite ma­jor­ity con­demned the at­tack Friday call­ing on Iraq's cen­tral govern­ment and lo­cal lead­ers "to un­der­take re­spon­si­bly and pro­fes­sion­ally the pro­tec­tion of cit­i­zens from ter­ror­ists." Grand Ay­a­tol­lah Ali al-Sis­tani's mes­sage was de­liv­ered by his rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sheikh Ab­dul­me­hdi al-Kar­balai from the holy city of Kar­bala dur­ing Friday prayers.

Daesh fight­ers have re­peat­edly turned to large-scale in­sur­gent at­tacks fol­low­ing ter­ri­to­rial losses. In July Iraqi forces de­clared vic­tory against Daesh in Iraq's sec­ond largest city, Mo­sul, a mil­i­tary win that ef­fec­tively broke the back of the mil­i­tants' self-pro­claimed caliphate. In Au­gust, Iraq de­clared that its forces re­took the north­ern city of Tal Afar and the sur­round­ing re­gion in an­other ma­jor vic­tory over the Daesh ter­ror­ist group. Tal Afar and the sur­round­ing area was one of the last pock­ets of Daesh-held ter­ri­tory in Iraq af­ter vic­tory was de­clared in July in Mo­sul. The town, about 150 kilo­me­ters (93 miles) east of the Syr­ian bor­der, sits along a ma­jor road that was once a key Daesh sup­ply route.

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