According to security sources, a truck loaded with explosives went off on Thursday at a gas station in the Shomali village in the suburbs of the city of al-Hilla, located 120 kilometers (75 miles) southeast of the capital Baghdad and around 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Karbala.
Reports say there have been several Iranian nationals among the victims.
The incident occurred at a time when buses packed with Shia pilgrims were parked at the gas station. The people were returning from Arba’een mourning rituals in the holy city of Karbala.
“At least seven buses with pilgrims were inside the petrol station at the time,” an unnamed police lieutenant colonel told AFP.
AFP also quoted an unnamed police intelligence source as saying that “those buses were loaded with Iranians, Bahrainis and Iraqis. Ambulances and civil defense are on their way to the site.”
In recent weeks, Daesh has resorted to similar acts of violence in areas outside its control in a desperate attempt to undermine a large Iraqi battle aimed at liberating the northern city of Mosul, the terror group’s last remaining foorhold in the country.