The Islamic State group yesterday claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that ripped through a busy market in the Iraqi capital ahead of Eid al-Adha celebrations, killing at least 30 people.
In a message posted on its Telegram channel, the militant group said a suicide bomber named Abu Hamza al-Iraqi detonated his explosive belt in the middle of a crowd in Sadr City, an eastern Baghdad suburb, on Monday night.
In one of the worst attacks in Baghdad in recent years, body parts of victims lay scattered across the previously bustling market that had been crowded with shoppers buying food ahead of the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha, a photographer said.
About 50 people were also wounded in the blast, medics said.
Iraqi President Barham Salih called the bombing in the densely populated majority-Shiite suburb a “heinous crime” and offered his condolences.
“They are targeting our civilians in Sadr City on the eve of Eid,” Salih wrote on Twitter. “They do not allow people to rejoice, even for a moment.”
Eight women and seven children were among the dead, medical sources said.
UNICEF confirmed that children were killed and injured in the attack.
“This horrific attack right before Eid al-Adha is a terrible reminder of the violence Iraqi children continue to face,” it said.
Video footage shared on social media after the blast showed bloodied victims and people screaming in terror. The blast was so strong it ripped the roofs off some market stalls.
“A terror attack using a locally made IED [improvised explosive device] in Woheilat Market in Sadr City, in east Baghdad, left several victims dead and others injured,” the Iraqi Ministry of Interior said in a statement.
Refrigerators full of water bottles were drenched with blood and shoes were strewn on the ground alongside fruit, journalists said.
Baghdad Operations Command, a joint military and interior ministry security body, said it had launched an investigation into the blast, and police and forensic teams late on Monday were searching through the smoking wreckage for clues.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi convened an emergency meeting with his heads of military and security agencies.
The Islamic State group in January claimed responsibility for a rare twin suicide bombing that killed 32 people — also at a crowded market in Baghdad.
That blast was the city’s deadliest attack in three years.
Such violence was commonplace in Baghdad during the sectarian bloodletting that followed the US-led invasion of 2003, and later on as the Islamic State group swept across much of Iraq and also targeted the capital, but after years of deadly violence, militant attacks have become relatively rare in Baghdad.
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