The death toll in a truck bombing in Iraq Sunday has risen to at least 60 people, according to recent estimates from medical and security officials, Reuters reported. The terror organization known as the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.
“A martyr's operation with a truck bomb hit the Babylon Ruins checkpoint at the entrance of the city of Hilla, killing and wounding dozens,” read a statement from the militant group, also known as ISIS, cited by the same Reuters report.
The truck exploded at a crowded checkpoint near the Babylonian Ruins, in Hillah, Iraq, south of Baghdad around noon local time. A suicide bomber detonated the explosives-laden truck, killing dozens of civilians and wounding at least 65 more, the Associated Press reported. At least 100 people have died in Iraq in suicide bombings in the past several days, according to the same report.
Dozens die in Iraq suicide bombing https://t.co/EwQwUHNaWh
— The Guardian (@guardian) March 6, 2016
ISIS has taken over vast swathes of Iraq and Syria, looking to impose Islamic law while aiming to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad. The Sunni group has also targeted Shia cities and towns, and the BBC correspondent in Iraq warned that attacks against civilians or “soft targets” in Shia-dominated areas will continue to grow. ISIS regards Shiites as apostates.
The United States and its allies have escalated airstrikes against the group in recent weeks, slowly pushing ISIS out of some of its territory. The coalition conducted 19 strikes across cities in Iraq and Syria Saturday, hitting a weapons factory and storage facility, an explosive device, several bulldozers and a fighting position, according to a statement released by the Combined Joint Task Force.
As the group has lost ground, it has escalated suicide bomb attacks against civilians while moving to beef up its presence in Libya in Northern Africa.