At least 50 people have been killed and over 80 more injured in a pair of gun and car bomb attacks in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah, Reuters reports, citing health officials. Iranian media said that among the victims were Iranian pilgrims.
In the first attack, a group of three or four gunmen entered a restaurant off the Dhi Qar highway and began shooting at random, hitting at least fifty people, several media reported.
Shortly afterward two suicide bombers, including one driving a car rigged with explosives, blew themselves and the car up at a security checkpoint nearby, Iraqi officials told AFP.
The survivors are being treated at the al-Batha and Nasiriyah hospitals, but due to the nature of some of the injuries the death toll is expected to rise, the director of the city’s Health Directorate, Jasim al-Khalidi, told Reuters.
Jassem al-Khalidi, a senior health official, told the TV channel that more than 87 people had sustained injuries in the attacks.
The majority of casualties are expected to be Iranian pilgrims, provincial governor Yahya al-Nassiri told AP, who were sat inside the restaurant at the time of the first attack.
Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has claimed responsibility for the attacks through it’s propaganda wing, the Amaq Agency.
Nasiriyah is the capital of Dhi Qar Governorate, which has a large Shiite population. Shiites and other ethnic and religious minorities have often been targets of Sunni militants in Iraq, including al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).