Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Minibus bombing outside Iraq's Karbala kills 12, injures 5

The attack is one of the deadliest to target civilians since the defeat of Islamic State was declared in 2017

Graffiti near the Shiite shrine city of Karbala in Iraq, seen in this picture from 2017, reads "Death to Islamic State". Sleeper cells of the group continue to carry out sporadic attacks in the country. AFP
Graffiti near the Shiite shrine city of Karbala in Iraq, seen in this picture from 2017, reads "Death to Islamic State". Sleeper cells of the group continue to carry out sporadic attacks in the country. AFP

A bomb exploded on a minibus packed with passengers outside the Shiite holy city of Karbala Friday night, killing 12 people and wounding five others, Iraqi security officials and the state news agency said.

This was one of the biggest attacks targeting civilians since ISIS was declared defeated inside Iraq in 2017.

The extremist group's sleeper cells continue to wage an insurgency and carry out sporadic attacks across the country.

The explosion occurred as the bus was passing through an Iraqi army checkpoint, about 10 kilometres south of Karbala in the direction of the town of Al Hilla.

One official told The Associated Press that before the blast, a passenger exited the minibus but left a bag containing explosives under one of the seats.

The device was then detonated remotely at the checkpoint.

Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said all of the dead were civilians killed in the explosion and subsequent fire on the bus.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Thirty-one pilgrims were killed and about 100 injured 10 days ago as hundreds of thousands of Shiite Muslims marked Ashura, one of the most solemn holy days of the year.

It was the deadliest stampede in recent history during Ashura commemorations.

Updated: September 21, 2019 09:46 AM

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