An ISIL suicide bomber recently detonated a truck filled with explosives at a roadside service station in Hilla, Iraq, killing nearly 80 people and injuring many more. The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms this outrageous terrorist attack.
Many of those killed were pilgrims returning from commemorating the Shi'a observance of Arbaeen in the city of Karbala. The annual rite is a commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, a revered seventh-century Shiite figure. Millions of Shiites have flowed through southern Iraq in recent days for what may be the world’s largest religious pilgrimage, larger even than the hajj in Saudi Arabia. This pilgrimage has been a frequent target of Sunni extremist groups like ISIL and its predecessor, al-Qaida in Iraq.
The United States extends its deepest sympathies to the families of the victims, as well as to all of Iraq, for this cruel violence, which was clearly intended to stoke sectarian tensions.
The United States remains steadfast in its partnership with the Iraqi people and government, and this attack only serves to strengthen American resolve in defeating ISIL. The U.S. extends its deepest condolences to the victims' families and friends.
These murders are yet another example of ISIL's contempt for human life and its efforts to sow discord and division among the Iraqi people. The U.S. partnership with Iraq and its people, who serve on the front lines of this global fight, remains steadfast and unwavering.
The State Department Spokesperson John Kirby said, the United States is "in close contact with Iraqi authorities, and we stand committed to supporting Iraqi Security Forces as they continue to take the fight to Daesh and bring to justice those responsible for these despicable crimes."