BAGHDAD — Up to 31 people were killed and some 23 others wounded on Friday in a suicide bomb attack at a popular market in south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, a provincial health office said.
“The final roll from the suicide bomb attack in the town of Musaiyab rose to 31 killed and 23 injured,” the health department of Iraq’s central province of Babil said in a statement.
The attack occurred at noon when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive belt at a crowded market at the entrance of the town of Musaiyab, some 50 km south of Baghdad, according to an Interior Ministry source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The blast destroyed several shops and many stalls and caused damages to several nearby civilian cars, the source said.
According to earlier report, the ministry source put the toll at 20 killed and 21 wounded by the suicide attack.
Musaiyab is part of the once restive area, dubbed Triangle of Death, which is a cluster of towns scattered north of Babil’s provincial capital city of Hilla, some 100 km south of Baghdad.
In a separate incident, another suicide bomber wearing explosive belt tried to enter a parking lot in the holy Shiite city of Karbala, some 110 km south of Baghdad, but a policeman opened fire on him forcing him to blew up himself, leaving four people wounded, a local police source anonymously told Xinhua.
The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility for the two attacks in a statement posted on Islamic websites, but the authenticity of the statement could not be independently verified.
In most cases, the IS group is responsible for such suicide attacks against Shiite pilgrims and their communal rituals in Iraq, in an attempt to provoke sectarian strife in the violence-shattered country.
Terrorist acts, violence and armed conflicts killed 345 Iraqis and wounded 446 others in May across Iraq, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq said.
The attack came as Iraqi security forces, backed by the anti-IS international coalition, were simultaneously conducting a major offensive to dislodge IS militants from their remaining redoubt in the western side of Mosul. Xinhua-northboundasia.com