HILLA, Iraq, Nov. 24 (UPI) – At least 57 people were killed Thursday when a truck bomb exploded near buses parked at a Hilla, Iraq, filling station, Iraq’s Joint Operation Command said.

The victims aboard the crowded buses were Shiite pilgrims, largely Iranian nationals, traveling home from Iraq after a religious observance. The explosion occurred in the on a highway between Babel and Al-Qadisiyyah in the suburbs of Hilla, about 75 miles southeast of Baghdad.

Falah al Rahdi, head of the Babel security council, added that at least 50 people were injured.

The Islamic State, in an online statement, took responsibility for the incident.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned the carnage, expressing sympathy with the Iraqi government and the victims’ families; ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said its Baghdad embassy is “investigating the issue with seriousness.”

“These brutal and inhumane acts will not affect the Iraqi government and nation’s determination and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s support for the oppressed Iraqi people in the unrelenting fight against terrorism.”

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