HEADLINES :


ADVERTISEMENT



36 killed in suicide blast at Iraqi market
Published on: Wednesday, July 21, 2021
By: AFP
Text Size:


Iraqis light candles at the site of the explosion in a popular market in the mostly Shiite neighbourhood of Sadr City, east of Baghdad.
BAGHDAD: Iraq was in mourning on Tuesday for at least 36 people killed when a bomb ripped through a crowded Baghdad market in what the Islamic State group’s jihadists claimed as a suicide attack.

The bloody carnage Monday evening, one of the deadliest attacks in years in the war-scarred country, killed mostly women and children on the eve of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim festival of sacrifice.

It sparked revulsion and renewed fears about the reach of the IS, which lost its last territory in Iraq after a gruelling campaign that ended in late 2017, but retains sleeper cells in remote desert and mountain areas.

The Sunni Muslim extremists claimed on the Telegram messenger service that an IS suicide bomber had detonated an explosives belt in the bustling Woheilat market of Baghdad’s Shiite district of Sadr City.

In the panic and chaos of the attack, screams of terror and anguish filled the air. When the smoke cleared, human remains lay strewn amid scattered sandals, market produce and the charred debris of stalls.

Iraqi President Barham Salih condemned the “heinous crime of unprecedented cruelty on the eve of Eid,” writing on Twitter that the perpetrators “do not allow people to rejoice, even for a moment”.

The United Nations Mission in Iraq said the attack showed that “the scourge of terrorism knows no bounds”, while the German embassy expressed its “sadness after this senseless and brutal attack”. 

No official death toll has yet been released by Iraqi authorities, but medical sources told AFP on Tuesday morning that at least 36 people were killed and about 60 wounded. 

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi said the “cowardly attack illustrates the failure of terrorists to regain a foothold after being defeated by our heroic security forces” and vowed that “terrorism will not go unpunished”.

The attack came days before Kadhemi was to meet US President Joe Biden in Washington, and months ahead of a scheduled parliamentary election in October.

“This is a clear message that IS is still present and is able to strike targets in Baghdad,” said Osama al-Saidi, head of the Iraqi Political Science Association.

“Whenever elections approach, terror attacks happen with the aim of sending a political message that those governing are weak.” 

Deadly attacks were common in Baghdad during the sectarian bloodletting that followed the US-led invasion of 2003, and later on as IS swept across much of Iraq.

Iraq declared IS defeated in late 2017 after a fierce three-year campaign and attacks became relatively rare in the capital—until January this year when a twin suicide bombing claimed by IS killed 32 people in a Baghdad market.

The US-led coalition that supported Iraq’s campaign against IS has significantly drawn down its troop levels over the past year, citing the increased capabilities of Iraqi forces.

The United States, which provides the bulk of the force, has 2,500 troops left in Iraq—down from 5,200 a year ago. 

They carry out air strikes, drone surveillance and training of Iraqi forces.

US forces have come under repeated attack from Shiite paramilitary groups, integrated into the Iraq security apparatus, that support neighbouring Iran, the arch enemy of the United States. 



ADVERTISEMENT


Other News
Advertisement 


Follow Us  



Follow us on            





World Top Stories