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Iraq: Death toll from shrine attack rises to 56

The death toll from Thursday's Daesh attack on a Shia shrine in the Iraqi town of Balad now stands at 56, a local official has said.

Three Daesh militants wearing suicide vests tried to storm the mausoleum of Sayid Mohammed bin Ali Al-Hadi in Balad, north of Baghdad, on Thursday. Two bombers blew themselves up outside the shrine, while a third was shot dead by security forces.

"The death toll from the attack has risen to 56," Radi Mohamed, a member of the town's local council, told reporters on Saturday.

He said more than 70 people have been injured in the assault.

"Many of the injured are in a critical condition and are suffering from severe burns," he said.

Daesh group, an extremist Sunni group which sees Shias as "apostates", has claimed responsibility for the attack on its affiliate news agency Amaq.

Iraqi Defence Minister Khalid Al-Obeidi, for his part, cited a "security failure" for the shrine attack.

"There was a security breach and negligence on the part of security forces tasked with protecting the area," he told a press conference on Saturday.

Thursday's attack came after a suicide bombing killed 292 people in a Shia shopping district in Baghdad in the deadliest attack since the 2013 US Invasion.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi has sacked the three top security officials in Baghdad following the bombing.

Iraq has suffered a devastating security vacuum since mid-2014, when Daesh captured Mosul and overran large swathes of territory in the northern and western parts of the country.

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