ISIS claims twin attacks in southern Iraq

BAGHDAD • The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group claimed responsibility for twin attacks that killed at least 50 people in southern Iraq yesterday.

In a statement released by its propaganda arm Amaq, ISIS said several suicide bombers had staged the gun and car bomb attacks on a restaurant and a security checkpoint near the city of Nasiriyah in southern Iraq.

"The toll has now reached 50 dead and 87 wounded," Mr Abdel Hussein al-Jabri, deputy health chief for the mainly Shi'ite province of Dhiqar of which Nasiriyah is the capital, told Agence France-Presse. He warned the death toll could rise as many of the wounded were in serious condition.

The first attack struck close to a restaurant while shortly afterwards a car bomb targeted a security checkpoint in the same area, officials said.

Security sources said the attackers were disguised as members of the Hashed al-Shaabi, mainly Shi'ite paramilitary units which have fought alongside the army and police against the ISIS militants to the north of Baghdad. The area targeted is used by Shi'ite pilgrims and visitors from neighbouring Iran headed for the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala farther north, although Dhiqar has previously been spared the worst of the violence.

ISIS regularly stages attacks in Iraq, where the group has lost swathes of territory to United States-backed pro-government forces.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2017, with the headline 'ISIS claims twin attacks in southern Iraq'. Print Edition | Subscribe