Double car bombings claimed by the extremist Islamic State (IS) group have killed at least 33 people and injured more than 70 others in southern Iraq, security and medical officials said on May 1.
The first explosion happened around midday near a bus station in the center of the southern Iraqi city of Samawa. The second bomb exploded about five minutes later, 400 meters from the spot of the first explosion.
Unverified photographs posted online showed a large plume of smoke above the buildings as well as burnt-out cars and bodies lying on the ground site of one of the blasts, including those of several children.
Police and rescue workers carried victims on stretchers and in their arms.
IS militants said in a statement published on social media that two suicide attackers detonated car bombs targeting members of the security forces in Samawa, 230 kilometers south of Iraq's capital, Baghdad.
Samawa is the capital of Muthanna province set deep in Iraq's Shi'ite heartland. IS militants mostly controls parts of the Sunni areas in the north and west. Attacks in the mainly Shi'ite southern provinces are relatively rare.
AFP cited a health department official and a security officer in the Muthanna province as saying that hospitals had received 33 dead.
The death toll from the attacks was expected to rise.
A car bomb just outside of Baghdad killed at least 23 people on April 30.
The United Nations issued a monthly report on May 1 saying that at least 741 Iraqis were killed in April due to ongoing violence, a sharp decline from the previous month.
The report put the number of civilians killed last month at 410, while the rest were members of the country's security forces. A total of 1,374 Iraqis were wounded in April, the report added.
The previous month' s report said that 1,119 people were killed and 1,561 wounded in March.
Double Car Bombings Strike Southern Iraq