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ISIS claims suicide bombing at Iraqi wedding

Five attackers armed with suicide vests, rifles and grenades killed 18 people in the Iraqi oasis town of Ain al-Tamer

Published: Updated:

The ISIS militant group has claimed a suicide bombing that killed at least 18 people and injured 26 at a wedding party near the holy Shiite city of Kerbala late on Sunday.

Five assailants including the suicide bomber attacked the celebration in Ain al-Tamr, west of Kerbala in southern Iraq, firing machine guns and throwing hand grenades, the police said. All the attackers were killed by security forces.

“They were carrying Kalashnikovs, hand grenades. One of them blew himself up and the others were killed by the security forces,” the head of the central Euphrates operations command, Qais Khalaf, said.

A member of the local council and a source at the provincial health directorate confirmed the death toll in the attack, which took place late on Sunday.

Officials said the attackers started opening fire in a neighborhood of Ain al-Tamer at around 1830 GMT on Sunday, although it was not immediately what their target was.

Five members of a same family were among the dead, according to a health official from Karbala province.

“The five terrorists were carrying lots of weapons and one of them blew himself up in the midst of our citizens,” said Farhan Jassem Mohammed, from the local council.

The military commanders said the attackers came from the Anbar desert to the west.

The bombing is the first in the Kerbala region since Iraqi forces dislodged ISIS militants from their stronghold in Falluja, 80 km (50 miles) north of city.

The ultra-hardline Sunni group has been retreating since last year in the face of government forces backed by a US-led coalition and Iranian-supported Shiite militias.

But it remains in control of parts of northern and western Iraq and continues to claim bombings all over the country, targeting mainly Shi’ite districts and cities.

A statement on the Amaq news agency that supports ISIS said the attack was carried out by four of its suicide fighters against a “gathering of Shi’ites”.

Initial reports in local media late, citing security sources, blamed the killings on a dispute between two tribes at the wedding party.

ISIS claimed a truck bomb that killed at least 325 people in Baghdad’s Karrada shopping street in July, the deadliest attack since the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.

(With Reuters and AFP)