Latest ISIL bombing
kills scores in Iraq
Latest ISIL bombing kills scores in Iraq
In the third massive bombing in or near Baghdad in the past two weeks, an attacker on Sunday crashed a fuel truck filled with explosives into a security checkpoint south of Baghdad, killing at least 47 and wounding scores of others, officials said.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in an online statement, part of the group’s campaign to create havoc far from the front battle lines and force the government forces to overextend themselves. CNN and other news outlets said the claim was made via the Islamic State-affiliated Amaq news agency and on social media.
The Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS, has carried out scores of suicide bombings against Iraq's security forces and the country’s Shiite Muslim majority. Hillah is in the mainly Shiite south, far from the main action in the government’s war with the Islamic State.
"Rafidha (Shiites) should know the battle has just started, and the coming is worse and more bitter, God willing," the Islamic State said in a statement.
Crowds at the scene, searching for survivors, picked through rubble and twisted car parts. Smoke rose from smoldering cars that had been lined up at the busy checkpoint at the northern entrance to this Hillah, about 60 miles from Baghdad.
“The blast has completely destroyed the checkpoint and its buildings,” Falah al-Khafaji, a senior security official, said as he stood at the edge of the blast site, according to the Associated Press. “More than 100 cars have been damaged.”
The dead included 39 civilians. The rest were members of the security forces. The attacker struck shortly after noon when the checkpoint was crowded with dozens of cars.
Violence in Iraq has spiked in the past month, with Islamic State suicide attacks killing more than 170 people, AP said. The attacks follow a string of advances by Iraqi forces backed by U.S.-led airstrikes, including in the western city of Ramadi, which Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition officials last month declared “liberated.”
Such attacks “force the government and the militias to look back and reallocate resources and reassess,” Bill Roggio, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told AP. The militias, mainly composed of Shiites, fight alongside government forces.
The Islamic State still controls large swaths of Iraq and neighboring Syria. It controls Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, as well as Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad. A decade ago that city was the site of some of the heaviest fighting in which U.S. ground forces engaged since the Vietnam War.
At least 670 Iraqis were killed last month, about two-thirds of them civilians, according to the United Nations.