Dozens killed as bomb hits anti-IS fighters' funeral

Dozens killed as bomb hits anti-IS fighters' funeral
The Islamic State group have claimed responsibility for another deadly attack in northern Iraq, targeting a funeral for Shia paramilitary fighters.
2 min read
13 April, 2018
Pro-government paramilitary fighters are a primary target of IS militants in northern Iraq [Getty]
At least 16 people were killed as a twin bombings ripped through a funeral procession for fighters killed by the Islamic State group in a northern Iraqi village on Thursday, the village's mayor said.

"Two bombs exploded as the funeral procession was entering the cemetery" in Asdira, near the town of Sharqat, Salaheddin Shaalan told AFP.

Most of the 14 people wounded in the blast were in "critical condition", he said.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack on their media channel, claiming that 17 had been killed and 30 others injured when a bomb that had been planted inside a grave exploded.

Iraqi officials said the injured could not be transported to a hospital outside the village as night had fallen and inhabitants feared being ambushed by IS militants, who are still prevalent in the surrounding area. 

The funeral was for five members of the Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary units, which fought alongside the army to expel the extremist group from Iraqi towns last year.

They were killed on Wednesday night in a suspected IS attack on a military convoy in the village, 250 kilometres (150 miles) north of Baghdad, a police official said.

Read more: The Islamic State group is not finished – yet

The attack was the deadliest in Iraq since a January 16 double suicide bombing in Baghdad that claimed 31 lives.

The Iraqi government declared victory over IS in December after pushing the extremist group out of their final holdouts along the border with Syria. 

However the group retains the capacity to strike despite losing control of vast swathes of Iraqi territory it seized in 2014, carrying out a string of deadly attacks in recent weeks.

It still clings to pockets of desert in war-torn Syria and appears to be able to cross the porous border between the two neighbouring countries. 

The militant group sometimes manage to snatch control of roads at night, especially in the Salaheddin province where Thursday's attack took place, and Anbar province along the border with Syria, security experts say.

On Sunday, four people were killed and several wounded in an IS suicide attack on the headquarters of a political party in Anbar.