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Car bomb kills around 100 Shia pilgrims south of Iraqi capital

A car bomb has reportedly exploded south of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, killing around 100 people, mostly Iranian Shia pilgrims. According to security sources, a truck loaded with explosives went off on Thursday at a gas station in the Shomali village in the suburbs of the city of al-Hilla, located 120 kilometers (75 miles) southeast of the capital Baghdad and around 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Karbala. The incident occurred at a time when buses packed with Shia pilgrims were parked at the gas station. The people were returning from Arba’een mourning rituals in the holy city of Karbala. “At least seven buses with pilgrims were inside the petrol station at the time,” an unnamed police lieutenant colonel told AFP. In recent weeks, Daesh has resorted to similar acts of violence in areas outside its control in a desperate attempt to undermine a large Iraqi battle aimed at liberating the northern city of Mosul, the terror group’s last remaining foothold in the country.
‘Iran won’t waver in backing Iraq’. Hours after the incident, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman strongly condemned the fatal terrorist blast, expressing sympathy with the Iraqi government and nation as well as all the families of the victims. Touching on reports that Iranian citizens were among the victims, Bahram Qassemi said, “The Foreign Ministry and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Embassy in Baghdad are investigating the issue with seriousness” and will take necessary measures in that regard. The Iranian official also stressed that such pre-planned and savage assaults emanate from the desperation of the terrorists, who are taking successive blows on the battlefield.

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