Isil kills 60 in tanker attack on Iraqi city
Published 07/03/2016 | 02:30
Scores of people were killed when a suspected Isil jihadist exploded a petrol tanker bomb in a city south of Baghdad, a worrying sign that Iraq's civil war may be moving into a new phase.
Initial estimates were that up to 60 people were killed and 70 injured when the rigged tanker exploded in the mainly Shia town of Hilleh, which is 110km from the capital and near the ruined ancient city of Babylon.
Isil posted a claim of responsibility on a website linked to the group, Amaq. "A martyr's operation with a truck bomb hit the Babylon Ruins checkpoint at the entrance of the city of Hilleh, killing and wounding dozens," it said.
The checkpoint, a nearby police station and several houses were destroyed or damaged, officials said. More than 20 police officers were said to be among the dead.
The bomb was triggered by a single suicide attacker. It was the second major bomb attack in a week, after a double suicide bombing hit a mobile phone market in the predominantly Shia working-class suburb of Sadr city in eastern Baghdad. The district has been a regular target over the last decade of Sunni jihadists intent on provoking sectarian conflict.
That attack killed more than 70 people the previous Sunday. There have been three other attacks this year which killed more than 20 people.
While car bombs are not new in Iraq, Isil last year was concentrating its forces on fighting for territory to expand its "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria.