80 killed, 31 injured in suicide tanker blast in Iraq

Baghdad, Nov 24 (IANS) At least 80 people were killed and 31 others wounded on Thursday in a suicide bomb attack at a fuel station in Babil province of Baghdad, a security official said.

“The attack occurred in the afternoon when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden tanker truck at a fuel station in Hillah, some 100 km south of Baghdad,” Xinhua news agency quoted head of the security committee of Babil Falah al-Khafaji as saying.

The massive blast destroyed a bus carrying Shiite pilgrims and many nearby vehicles at the busy fuel station. Many of the casualties were Iranian and Pakistani nationals.

The pilgrims were returning home after observing a major ritual of Arbaeen in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, as the Shiite Muslims commemorate the death of Imam Hussein, one of the Shiites’ twelve most revered Imams.

According to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, terrorist acts, violence and armed conflicts killed 1,792 Iraqis and wounded 1,358 others in October across the country.