Sept. 14 (UPI) — A car bomb exploded outside an Iraqi restaurant on Thursday and killed dozens, Iraq’s Interior Ministry said.
The attack happened in Dhi Qar province, officials said. Conflicting announcements from official and security sources placed the death toll between 20 and 45, with many injuries.
The bombing was the second of two attacks on the restaurant.
“Terrorists assaulted citizens inside of a restaurant on the highway of Dhi Qar province and fled, followed by the bombing of a car bomb near Fadak control [a security checkpoint],” ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Saad Maan said in a statement.
The assailants fired shots into the restaurant that was busy with Iranian visitors before a car loaded with explosives exploded outside, Iraqi News reported.
The restaurant is located on the road between Dhi Qar and Basra in southern Iraq. No group immediately caimed responsibility for the attack.
Dhi Qar is relatively peaceful, Al-Iraqiya reported Thursday, but has recently seen a rise in bombings targeting civilians and security forces.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq said nearly 300 Iraqi civilians died in violence and armed conflict in August, with 45 of those deaths occurring in the province that includes Baghdad.