Daesh terror attacks kill 50 in southern Iraq

Daesh terror attacks kill 50 in southern Iraq

Gunmen and suicide vehicle bombers on Thursday killed at least 52 people including Iranians near the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah, in an attack claimed by the Daesh militant group.

"Sixty people were killed, including Iranian citizens", said Jasim al-Khalidi, the Director General of Health in the Dhi Qar Province.

The first attack occurred outside a local restaurant and minutes later an explosives-packed auto rammed a security checkpoint in the same area, officials said.

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

Security officials described Thursday's attacks as an attempt to send a message to Islamic State followers that the group is still strong and can operate in other parts of Iraq following its territorial losses.

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In a statement released by its propaganda arm Amaq, IS said several suicide bombers had staged the assault on a restaurant and a security checkpoint.

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

Jihadist militants carry out regular attacks in Iraq where Daesh has been losing ground to the government forces.

Daesh has suffered a string of defeats on the battlefields of both Iraq and Syria, leaving in tatters the cross-border "caliphate" it declared in 2014.

A large number of the fatalities were recorded in the capital province of Baghdad, where 45 civilians were killed and 135 others wounded during the same period.

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