Baghdad: At least 15 Iraqi soldiers and Shia militiamen were killed and 30 others were wounded in a suicide bombing near Jurf Al Sakhar in Iraq’s Babil province, south of Baghdad.

A security source in Hilla, the capital of Babil, told Efe news agency the bomber detonated the explosives packed into the car he was driving as it approached a mixed force of Iraqi army personnel and volunteers from a Shia militia.

Due to the large number of injured and the critical condition in which some of them were hospitalised, the source did not rule out the likelihood that the toll might climb even higher.

The attack coincides with an offensive by the Sunni Muslim Islamic State (IS) terrorist group that has been seeking to extend its control beyond the large areas of Iraq and Syria in which it has proclaimed a caliphate.

Iraq is the scene of frequent attacks against security forces and Shia targets. Two days ago, seven Iraqi soldiers were killed in a suicide attack on an army checkpoint north of Baghdad.

According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), 1,119 Iraqis were killed and 1,946 others were wounded, including civilians and soldiers, in acts of terrorism and violence that took place in Iraq during the month of September.