MANILA – The Philippines has expressed its condolences to Iraq and Iran as it condemned the terrorist attacks in the southern part of the country that left more than 80 people, including several Iranian pilgrims, dead.
“Terrorist attacks such as those carried out against pilgrims in Dhi Qar Province have no room in civilized societies such as ours,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano said in a statement from New York where he will be attending the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
“The Philippines condemns the latest attacks in Iraq and all other attacks against civilians by extremist elements in other parts of the world,” Secretary Cayetano said as he expressed condolences to the families of those who died and hopes for the early recovery of those injured.
According to the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad, the attack on Thursday evening targeted a restaurant in Nasiriyah in Dhi Qar province south of Baghdad that was frequented by Shia pilgrims.
Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato said no Filipino was reported to be among the victims of the complex attack that killed 84 people, including least seven Iranian pilgrims, and wounded 93 others. Cato said the attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State, involved gunmen who opened fire at a checkpoint and at the restaurant along the main highway to Baghdad followed by two suicide bombers, including one who detonated a car bomb.
The Embassy immediately issued an advisory urging the estimated 4,000 Filipinos in Iraq to remain vigilant and to restrict their movement, especially in Baghdad and surrounding areas.
Chargé d’Affaires Cato said the incident in Nasariyah followed an attack at a security checkpoint in Jadriya District near the Embassy on Wednesday. It was followed by a bomb explosion on Friday in Dora District that left several casualties.