Iraq: At least 50 die in twin attacks near Nasiriya

Scene of the attack on the checkpointImage copyright

Image caption

The attack has been claimed by so-called Islamic State

At least 50 people have been killed in two attacks in southern Iraq, health officials say.

In the first attack, a suicide bomber detonated his vest and gunmen opened fire inside a roadside restaurant near Nasiriya, the capital of Dhiqar province, security sources said.

Soon afterwards, a car bomb exploded at a nearby checkpoint.

So-called Islamic State said it carried out the attacks. A number of Iranians are thought to be among the dead.

More than 80 people were injured in the attacks, many of them seriously, and the death toll could rise, health officials said.

According to news agency AFP, one report said the attackers were disguised as members of Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) – a mainly Shia group that has fought alongside Iraqi forces against IS.

IS are enduring defeat after defeat on front lines in both Iraq and Syria, but they remain capable of launching devastating assaults on soft targets, says BBC Middle East editor Alan Johnston.

The area targeted is frequented by Shia pilgrims and visitors from Iran on their way to the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala to the north.

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The attacks happened near Nasiriya in southern Iraq


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