Suicide bombing kills 8 south of Baghdad
AIN AL-TAMER - A rare suicide bombing in an oasis town south of Baghdad killed eight people on Monday, Iraqi officials said, an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.
The attack in Ain al-Tamer, which also wounded at least six people, involved multiple suicide bombers, some of whom may have been killed by security forces before they could blow themselves up, officials said.
Masum al-Tamimi, a member of the Karbala provincial council, said that six suicide bombers armed with light weapons as well as explosives tried to infiltrate Ain al-Tamer early on Monday.
But they clashed with security forces before withdrawing to the Al-Jihad area and detonating explosives there, Tamimi said, putting the death toll at eight, a figure confirmed by a doctor.
The interior ministry said that five of the bombers were killed by security forces while the sixth detonated explosives inside a house.
But IS issued a statement claiming the attack in which it said that there were only five bombers, identified with noms de guerre indicating that two were from Mosul and three from Syria.
The jihadist group said that the bombers, who were armed with automatic weapons and grenades as well as explosive belts, battled security forces until running out of ammunition and then blew themselves up.
Attacks in southern Iraq are rare, especially compared to the frequent bombings that hit Baghdad.
But Ain al-Tamer, which is located 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the Shiite shrine city of Karbala, is on the edge of Anbar province, which has long been a haven for jihadists.
A similar attack involving militants armed with explosives, rifles and grenades hit Ain al-Tamer in late August, killing 18 people and wounding at least 26.
IS issued a statement claiming that responsibility for that attack.
The jihadist group overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes have since regained much of the territory they lost to IS two years ago.
Iraqi forces are now fighting to retake the northern city of Mosul, the last major population centre held by IS in the country.
But the jihadists have still able to strike inside government-held territory with bombings and other attacks even as they lose ground.