Massive truck bomb blast targets Iranian pilgrims in Iraq

ISIS claimed the attack in a brief statement carried by its Aamaq news agency, saying it was a suicide truck bomb.

Falah al-Radhi, the provincial security chief, told ABC News that numerous dead were Iranian Shia pilgrims who were taking part in an Arba'een pilgrimage - an annual religious event in the holy city of Karbala.

Iraq's security forces were on high alert for the duration of the pilgrimage, seen as a major potential target for IS. The religious date marks the 40th day of mourning after Ashura, a Shiite religious event remembering the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, in the battle of Karbala in 680.

"Such brutal and inhuman acts are not going to affect the determination of the Iraqi people and its government; neither could they disrupt the Islamic republic's joint fight with Iraq against terrorism", he said.

A man mourns at the site of a suicide truck bomb attack that killed dozens of people near the city of Hilla, south of Baghdad, on November 24.

Initial casualty reports state that more than 70 people are dead and 20 others are wounded, Falah al-Radhi, head of the provincial security committee in the Babylon province, told ABC News.

Iraqi security forces gather at the site of a suicide truck bomb attack, at a petrol station in the city of Hilla south of Baghdad, Iraq, Nov. 24, 2016.

"When the gas tanker blew up it also torched several buses and minivans that were carrying the pilgrims", Abdel-Hamid said.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Kurdish and Shia forces agreed to co-ordinate movements after cutting off Mosul from the rest of the territory held by Islamic State in western Iraq and Syria in support of a U.S-backed offensive to capture the city, US and Iraqi officials said on Thursday.

The neighborhoods are all in the eastern sector of Mosul, east of the Tigris River, where most of the fighting has taken place since the government's campaign to liberate the city began October 17.

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