Medics transport one of the victims of a bomb plast to a hospital in the Shiite holy Iraqi city of Karbala, 100 kms south of the capital Baghdad on September 20, 2019.
Medics transport one of the victims of a bomb plast to a hospital in the Shiite holy Iraqi city of Karbala, 100 kms south of the capital Baghdad on September 20, 2019.
Photo by Mohammed SAWAF / AFP)

Baghdad: Iraq's prime minister says security forces have detained a man suspected of detonating a bomb on a minibus packed with passengers outside the Shiite holy city of Karbala.

A bomb exploded on a minibus packed with passengers outside the Shiite holy city of Karbala Friday night, killing 12 people and wounding five others, Iraqi security officials and the state news agency said.

This was one of the biggest attacks targeting civilians since the extremist Islamic State group was declared defeated inside Iraq in 2017.

The group's sleeper cells continue to wage an insurgency and carry out sporadic attacks across the country

The explosion occurred as the bus was passing through an Iraqi army checkpoint, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) south of Karbala in the direction of the town of al-Hilla.

One official told The Associated Press that before the blast, a passenger exited the minibus but left a bag containing explosives under one of the seats. The device was then detonated remotely at the checkpoint.

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