A car bomb tore through a gas station south of Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 56 people, including 20 Iranians, in an attack claimed by ISIL.
Police and hospital officials confirmed the toll and said another 45 people were wounded in the attack, which destroyed the gas station and set several cars on fire.
It happened near the city of Hillah about 100 kilometers south of Baghdad. CCTV’s Stephanie Freid reports on the attack.
Follow Stephanie Freid on Twitter @stefanella
The blast knocked out power at the station, forcing relatives looking for the remains of loved ones to use the glare of their mobile phones to guide them.
Body parts that remained unclaimed were gathered in a blue bag and placed on the sidewalk outside the station.
Large sections of the station were covered in blood.
Officials say the target of the attack appears to have been a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims heading home after taking part in a major Shiite holiday in the holy city of Karbala.
ISIL claimed the attack in a brief statement carried by its Aamaq news agency. It said the attack was carried out by a suicide truck bomb.
Story by the Associated Press
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
November 24, 2016
Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on the Terrorist Attack in Hilla, Iraq
The United States strongly condemns the terrorist attack today in the city of Hilla, Iraq, which initial reports indicate killed at least 80 people and wounded many more. Many of those killed were pilgrims, including from Iran, returning from commemorating the Shi’a observance of Arbaeen in the city of Karbala. The United States extends its deepest sympathies to the families of the victims, as well as to all of Iraq, for this senseless violence, which was clearly intended to stoke sectarian tensions. The United States remains steadfast in its partnership with the Iraqi people and government, and this attack only serves to strengthen our resolve in defeating ISIL.