73 killed in an Islamic State suicide bombing near Baghdad

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suicide bagdadA suicide bombing by the Islamic State near a hospital in Shomali, around 120 km southeast of Baghdad, has claimed more than 73 people, including 40 Iranian pilgrims.

As many as 65 people were wounded in the attack. Earlier, the IS put the death toll at 56 in the November 24 night bombing, which had destroyed a nearby petrol station, several stores and set many cars on fire. Sections of the petrol station had contained coagulated blood; remnants of the bombing.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi said that 80 people were killed, including 40 Iranians.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a brief statement carried by its Aamaq news agency, saying it was a suicide truck bomb.

The target appeared to be a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims, heading back home after taking part in Shiite Arbaeen commemoration in Karbala. The bomb blast left the bus and some dozen cars charred and in pieces. The bus packed with the faithful was returning from Karbala when it was attacked by the IS.

Most of the victims were Iranians, the largest contingent of foreigners in the pilgrimage, which is one of the world’s largest religious events and culminated on November 21.