At least 74 people have been killed and dozens more wounded in twin gun and car bombing attacks near the city of Nasiriyah in southern Iraq, according to a local official.
The attacks in the southern province of Thi Qar on Thursday started with unidentified gunmen opening fire inside a restaurant on the main highway that links the capital Baghdad with the southern provinces.
Shortly afterwards, an explosives-laden car targeted a security checkpoint in the same area.
“There are now 74 deaths and 93 wounded,” said Abdel Hussein al-Jabri, Thi Qar’s deputy health chief.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) claimed responsibility for the suicide attacks, according to the group’s Amaq news agency.
Yahya al-Nassiri, provincial governor, told AP news agency that majority of the dead are expected to be Iranian visitors who were inside the restaurant.
Thi Qar is located about 320km southeast of Baghdad.
The latest attacks follow a series of setbacks that ISIL has faced at the hands of US-backed Iraqi forces.
In July, Iraq retook control of Mosul, a key ISIL stronghold on the north, after a campaign of nearly nine months.
ISIL still controls the town of Hawija in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk and western areas in the country’s largest province of Anbar.
Source: News agencies