NASIRIYAH: Gunmen and suicide car bombers on Thursday killed at least 74 people, including Iranians, here near the southern Iraqi city, in an attack claimed by Daesh.
The attackers struck at midday, opening fire on a restaurant before getting into a car and blowing themselves up at a nearby security checkpoint, officials said.
Abdel Hussein al-Jabri — the deputy health chief for the province of Dhiqar — said at least 74 people had died, including seven Iranians, and another 93 people were wounded.
That was up from the previous toll of 52 dead and 91 wounded in what was already the deadliest Daesh attack in Iraq since pro-government forces drove the extremists out of second city Mosul in July.
Security sources said the attackers were disguised as members of the Hashed al-Shaabi — a paramilitary alliance that has fought alongside the army and police against Daesh in northern Iraq.
Rescue workers and members of the security forces placed bodies in ambulances and cleared away rubble and the carcasses of burnt-out cars from the site.
Burned bodies and vehicles including buses and trucks testified to the violence of the attack. Shelters built of corrugated metal were reduced to scraps of metal, twisted by heat.
The area targeted is on a highway used by pilgrims and visitors from neighbouring Iran to travel to the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala further north, although Dhiqar has previously been spared the worst of Iraq’s violence.
Daesh claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement carried by its Amaq propaganda arm.
“Revelation 9:11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.”
“Genesis 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.”
“Genesis 16:11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. 16:12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”
“Isaiah 26:21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”