Iraqi security forces inspect the site of a bomb attack at a police checkpoint on a highway. (Reuters: Essam Al-Sudani)
Suicide bombers have attacked a restaurant and a police checkpoint on a highway near the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriya, killing at least 50 people and wounding 80 others, officials said.
One attacker detonated his explosive vest inside the restaurant, south-west of Nassiriya, while three to four other attackers opened fire at the people inside, police sources said.
Meanwhile, the director of Nassiriya’s health directorate, Jasim al-Khalidi, said the city’s hospital had received 50 bodies while warning that the death toll could rise due to the critical condition of some of the wounded.
The Islamic State group was quick to claim responsibility for the attack on its official online Amaq publication.
Bomb attacks in southern Iraq, where the bulk of the country’s oil is produced, are relatively rare.
The attack occurred while Iraqi forces are battling to defeat Islamic State militants in areas under their control.