Iraq blast: Suicide bomber kills 30 Shias near Karbala, Islamic State claims responsibility
A woman detonated her explosive belt in a market east of the Shia holy city of Kerbala on Friday, killing at least 30 and wounding 35, Iraqi security sources said.
“A suicide bomber blew himself up in Musayyib market, causing 20 civilian martyrs,” an interior ministry spokesman said.
At least 34 other people were wounded in the attack in the centre of Musayyib, a town that lies about 60 kilometres (35 miles) south of the capital, a police officer and a medic at the local hospital said.
A source at Musayyib hospital said at least four of the wounded were in very serious condition following the blast, which rocked the market at around 11:30 am (0830 GMT).
The attack in Musayyib came hours after another, apparently failed attack in the Shiite shrine city of Karbala, a few kilometres (couple of miles) to the southwest.
Four civilians were wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of the city’s main bus station early Friday, police sources said.
Both attacks were claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group through its propaganda agency Amaq, which in both cases spoke of a “martyrdom-seeking operation” using an explosive vest.
IS has carried out dozens of deadly suicide bombings targeting civilians but Iraq has been on heightened alert since the start of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
More than 40 people were killed and dozens wounded in a spate of attacks on May 30, a few days after the beginning of Ramadan, including a devastating blast at an ice cream shop in central Baghdad’s Karrada neighbourhood.
It was during Ramadan last year that IS carried out its deadliest ever attack in the Iraqi capital with a truck bomb that set two shopping arcades ablaze, also in Karrada, resulting in more than 320 deaths.
The bombings in Baghdad come as Iraqi forces fight to retake the last IS-held areas of Mosul, a city that was the jihadist group’s emblematic stronghold.
Iraqi forces are almost eight months into a massive operation to recapture the second city and have already taken back its whole eastern side and much of the west.
The hardline Sunni Muslim insurgents are on the brink of losing Mosul, their de-facto capital in Iraq, to a U.S.-backed Iraqi offensive launched in October.
The group is also on the backfoot in neighbouring Syria, retreating in the face of a U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led military coalition attacking Raqqa, its capital there.
Iranian-backed paramilitaries are taking part in the campaign against Islamic State in Iraq, attacking the group in the border region near Syria.
At least 10 civilians were killed by Russian shelling of the city of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine on Monday, regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said. The governor of the Luhansk region, Gaidai, had said earlier on Monday that heavy shelling had caused fires in residential areas.
Russia on Monday said there was an agreement to evacuate wounded Ukrainian soldiers holed up in the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. "An agreement has been reached on the removal of the wounded," news agency Reuters quoted the Russian defence ministry as saying in a statement. Russia attacked the port city of Mariupol – which it now claims to controls – for nearly two months.
The confirmed number of dead is equivalent to a 9/11 attack every day for 336 days. It is roughly equal to how many Americans died in the Civil War and World War II combined. It’s as if Boston and Pittsburgh were wiped out.
Sweden's Social Democrat minority government on Monday took the formal decision to apply for NATO membership, following in the footsteps of its neighbour Finland in a move that will redraw the geopolitical map of northern Europe. "There is a broad majority in Sweden's parliament for joining NATO," Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said following a debate on security policy in parliament. "The best thing for Sweden and the Swedish population is to join NATO."
Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday said the island nation's economy was in a precarious condition and that the cash-strapped nation was currently out of petrol. He also proposed privatising the Sri Lanka airlines. “At present, the Sri Lankan economy is extremely precarious. Although the former government's budget projected revenue of SLR 2.3 trillion, SLR 1.6 trillion is the realistic projection of this year's revenue,” the PM said in Colombo.