Suicide truck bomb death toll rises to 61
Published 07/03/2016 | 08:01
The death toll from a suicide truck bombing south of Baghdad on Sunday has risen to 61, Iraqi officials have said.
A police officer said 52 of those killed were civilians, while the rest were members of the security forces.
Another 95 people were injured in the attack which targeted a security checkpoint at one of the entrances to the city of Hillah, about 60 miles (95km) south of the capital.
The officer said eight other people were still missing.
A medical official confirmed the casualty figures.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing in an online statement.
Iraq has seen a spike in violence in the past month, with suicide attacks claimed by IS killing more than 170 people. Sunday's bombing was the third massive bombing in a little over a week against security forces and the country's Shiite majority. These attacks follow a string of advances by Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes, including in the western city of Ramadi.
The latest push could be seen as an attempt by IS to stage attacks deep behind the front lines in order to wreak havoc and force the government to overextend its forces. Hillah is in the country's mainly Shiite south, far from the front lines of the war against IS.