Iraq tightens security after suicide attack kills 61 people

Iraqi authorities tighten security after suicide bombing kills 61 people in Baghdad

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

A truck packed with explosives was detonated by a suicide bomber at the main checkpoint guarding the northern entrance to the city of Hilla on Sunday, the deadliest such attack in Iraq this year.

Iraqi authorities tightened security in several provinces on Monday after a suicide bomb attack at a checkpoint south of Baghdad killed and wounded dozens, security and medical officials said.

A suicide bomber rammed his truck packed with explosives into a security checkpoint guarding the northern entrance to the city of Hilla on Sunday, the deadliest such attack in Iraq this year, with 61 dead and 60 wounded, reported by a doctor at Babil province health directorate.

"The death toll following the suicide attack has risen to 61, including 23 members of the security forces." said a doctor at Babil province health directorate adding the number of wounded stood at 60, including eight women and five children.

A senior police officer from Babil Operations Command gave the same death toll but a slightly higher number of wounded.

Civilians and security forces gather as municipality workers remove destroyed vehicles at the scene of a suicide bomb attack in Hilla, south of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, March 6, 2016.

Hilla, the capital of Babil province, lies around 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Baghdad.

Municipality vehicles were driving around Hilla to call people to donate blood while security was tight in and around the city, a day after the bombing which was claimed by the terrorist group DAESH.

Neighbouring provinces including the capital Baghdad and Najaf also tightened security in fear that there might be several explosive-laden cars.

"There are serious security measures at all checkpoints around Baghdad following the suicide attack north of Hilla yesterday," a police colonel in the capital said.

"These terrorists often try to strike several times in quick succession."

A police officer at Babil Operations Command said 11 people were arrested in Jbala, a town 35 kilometres (22 miles) northeast of Hilla, as part of the probe into Sunday's attack but it was not clear what the 11 were suspected of.

DAESH terrorist group claimed responsibility for many similar attacks in Iraq in recent weeks. In the past month, DAESH killed more than 170 people in suicide attacks. Sunday’s bombing was the third massive bombing in a little over a week against security forces and the country’s Shiite majority.

Observers warned that as DAESH continues to lose territory on the battlefield, it will likely revert to its old tactics and increase bomb attacks against civilians.

The explosive charges used in the most recent suicide attacks in Baghdad appeared to have been smaller than that used in the truck bombing outside Hilla on Sunday.

TRTWorld and agencies