Suicide attack kills 18 in Iraq oasis town wedding
At least 18 people were killed in a suicide attack at a wedding in the Iraqi oasis town of Ain al-Tamer, southwest of Baghdad, local officials said Monday.
The attack was carried out by five attackers armed with suicide vests, rifles and grenades, according to Qais Khalaf, the head of the central Euphrates operations command.
"They were carrying Kalashnikovs, hand grenades. One of them blew himself up and the others were killed by the security forces," he said.
A member of the local council and a source at the provincial health directorate confirmed the death toll in the attack, which took place late on Sunday, and said at least 26 people were also wounded.
Five members of a same family were among the dead, according to a health official from Karbala province.
"The five terrorists were carrying lots of weapons and one of them blew himself up in the midst of our citizens," said Farhan Jassem Mohammed, from the local council.
The military commanders said the attackers came from the Anbar desert to the west.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but all recent suicide operations in Iraq have been claimed by the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, which has stepped up attacks on security forces and the country's Shia majority in recent months as it has suffered a string of battlefield setbacks.
Ain al-Tamer is located about 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of the holy Shia city of Karbala and lies on the edge of the sprawling province of Anbar, is overwhelmingly Sunni, sharing borders with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and has long been a haven for extremists.
Iraq's security forces have for months been battling IS fighters in Anbar, notching up key victories in the capital Ramadi and extremist bastion Fallujah earlier this year.
Agencies contributed to this report.