At least a dozen people have reportedly lost their lives and many more sustained injuries in a powerful bomb attack in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, police and medical sources say.
A security source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network that a bomb-laden car that was parked at a street near al-Jamhouria General Hospital of the city, located roughly 550 kilometers (340 miles) south of the capital Baghdad, went off on Tuesday noon.
The blast set fire to at least one vehicle and damaged a minibus.
Black smoke was seen over the area and ambulances rushed to save the wounded. Police cordoned off the site of the blast shortly afterward.
Policemen were collecting body parts from a minibus that was badly damaged by the blast, Reuters reported, citing witnesses. The street was covered with broken glass and blood.
A statement released by the Security Media Cell, affiliated with the Iraqi prime minister’s office, said the explosion was caused by a motorcycle rigged with explosives.
Police and health sources told Reuters that at least 20 others were wounded.
Iraq’s military said in a statement that forensic experts were still at the scene to determine further details.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, but it bears the hallmark of those carried out by members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
‘Daesh fingerprints all over deadly attack’
“Daesh’s fingerprints are all over the deadly bomb attack,” Basra Provincial Governor Asaad al-Eidani told reporters.
Eidani also declared three days of mourning following the terrorist attack.
Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.
Iraq declared victory over Daesh in December 2017 after a three-year counter-terrorism campaign, which also had the support of neighboring Iran.
The terror outfit’s remnants, though, keep staging sporadic attacks across Iraq, attempting to regroup and unleash fresh violence.
Daesh has intensified its terrorist attacks in Iraq since January 2020, when the United States assassinated top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and Hashd al-Sha’abi deputy commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, near Baghdad International Airport.
Last month, the secretary general of Iraq’s Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba resistance group held US occupation forces responsible for the upsurge in terrorist attacks by Daesh Takfiri terrorists across the country, saying the current situation proves that terror outfits are all tools in the hands of hegemonic powers.
“The rise in criminal activities of Daesh sleeper cells, behind which the occupier is standing, is yet another evidence that this terrorist organization is nothing but a miserable tool in the hands of global arrogance. We call upon our brave brethren serving within the ranks of security forces and Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) not to be lenient and to mount preemptive strikes [against Daesh],” Akram al-Kaabi wrote in a post published on his Twitter page on November 15.
Kaabi said the current developments sound the alarm for Iraqi security forces and anti-terror Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters, stressing that the Iraqi forces should target terrorist hideouts in northern and eastern provinces of Kirkuk and Diyala.