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Hundred Shi'ite pilgrims killed by Islamic State in Iraq


Iraq

Hundred Shi'ite pilgrims killed by Islamic State in Iraq

Around one hundred people, most of them Shi’ite pilgrims from Iran, have been killed in the Iraqi city of Hilla.

A suicide bomber driving a truck laden with explosives crashed into a petrol station where buses carrying the pilgrims had stopped.

The Sunni extremist group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

The pilgrims, whom the Islamic State regards as apostates, were returning to Iran from the Iraqi Shi’ite holy city of Kerbala.

They’d been commemorating Arbaeen, the fortieth day of mourning for the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammad, in the seventh century.

In nothern Iraq there’s more signs of the destruction wrought by Islamic State.

In Qarrayah near the city of Mosul, IS set fire to oil wells in August as it retreated from an advance by US-backed Iraqi army units.

Oil workers have only recently been able to tackle the fires. More than 150 workers tackle a burning oil well at at time, using water and earth to control the blaze.

“Daesh used to steal and sell oil and when it gets enough, it burnt it, to deprive Iraq from it,” oil engineer Hussein Saleh said. “There are states behind Daesh which want to harm Iraq and this is their chance.”

The Iraqi army has been trying to dislodge IS from Mosul but it’s been a slow military advance.

The group made hundreds of millions of dollars selling oil on the black market from the fields it captured in Iraq and Syria when it took over swathes of both countries in 2014, according to U.S. government estimates.

But it has suffered a near collapse in oil smuggling revenue since losing control of a series of oil fields in 2015 and 2016.

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