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At Least 52 Killed In Gunmen, Car-Bomb Attack In Southern Iraq


An attack by gunmen and suicide car bombers has killed at least 52 people, including more than a dozen visiting Iranians, in southern Iraq, officials and local media say.

Reports said at least 15 Iranian visitors were among those killed in the September 14 attack near the city of Nasiriyah.

The Sunni extremist group Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack, which also wounded more than 90 people.

Officials said the attacks began when gunmen opened fire on customers at a restaurant, then returned to a car and blew themselves up at a security checkpoint.

The AFP news agency quoted security sources as saying the attackers were disguised as members of Hashed al-Shaabi, a paramilitary organization dominated by Iran-backed Shi'ite militias. The militia group has fought against IS militants in parts of Iraq.

Officials said the attackers targeted an area used by Shi’ite pilgrims and visitors from Iran en route to the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.

IS captured large swathes of Iraqi territory in 2014 but has been driven from most of its strongholds by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces and Shi’ite militias. The militants are now mainly confined to the holdout areas of Al-Qaim on the border with Syria and in Hawija north of Baghdad.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and dpa