February 27, 2024

Baghdad bombing: Death toll increases to 31

TAP | Updated: May 30, 2017

BAGHDAD, May 30: A massive bombing by the Islamic State (IS) group outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad and a car bomb in another downtown area during rush hour killed at least 31 people Tuesday, Iraqi officials said.
The attacks come as IS militants are steadily losing more territory to US-backed Iraqi forces in the battle for Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city. The Sunni extremists are increasingly turning to insurgency-style terror attacks to detract from their losses.
The nighttime attack outside the ice cream parlour in the bustling Karrada neighbourhood killed 17 people and also wounded 32, police and health officials said.
A closed-circuit camera captured the moment of the explosion, the video showing a busy downtown avenue, with cars driving down the street when the blast strikes. A huge fireball then engulfs a building, forcing the cars to scramble to get away.
Other videos of the attack posted on social media show wounded and bloodied people crying for help on the sidewalk outside the ice cream parlour. A number of wounded lay on the ground, others propped themselves up on the colorful park benches outside the ice cream shop. One young girl, wearing a ribbon and bow in her hair, was seen wandering around dazed.
In the second attack, an explosives-laden car went off during rush hour near the state-run Public Pension Office in Baghdad’s busy Shawaka area, killing 14, a police officer said. At least 37 people were wounded in that attack, he added.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
In separate online statements, IS claimed responsibility for the two attacks, saying its suicide bombers targeted gatherings of Shiites. The Associated Press could not verify the authenticity of the statements but they were posted on a militant website commonly used by extremists.
The attack came just days into the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims fast during daylight hours. After sundown, families break their fast and Baghdad’s restaurants and cafes quickly fill up.
Ramadan is often marked by an uptick in violence in Iraq.
Last year, Baghdad was rocked by a huge truck bomb attack that targeted a popular retail district in the city center where young people and families were shopping for new clothes ahead of the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. The blast killed hundreds in the single deadliest event in Baghdad since Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003. The IS group also claimed responsibility for that bombing, which ultimately led to the resignation of Iraq’s interior minister.
Monday’s attack comes as Iraqi troops are slowing pushing IS fighters out of their last strongholds in the northern city of Mosul. Iraqi commanders say the offensive, which recently entered its eight month, will mark the end of the IS caliphate in Iraq, but concede the group will likely increase insurgent attacks in the wake of military defeats. PTI
 

Comments(0)