Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has confirmed a 12-year-old Melbourne girl was among the 13 people killed by a car explosion in Baghdad on Tuesday night. Reuters is reporting ISIS has already claimed responsibility for the bomb, which detonated near an ice cream parlour in the district of Karrada. Forty other people were wounded in the attack.
"With great sadness I can confirm that a 12-year-old Australian girl, Zynab Al Harbiya, was killed during this car bombing," Bishop said in a statement Wednesday morning. "I have no reports that any other family members were injured…This tragedy underscores the brutality of this terrorist organisation that shows no respect for religion, nationality, sovereignty, borders, no respect for humanity."
Al Harbiya was a year seven student in Thomastown, in Iraq with family to visit her ill grandfather. The car bomb explosion that took her life coincided with the end of the day's Ramadan fasting—she and her family were breaking the fast by visiting the popular ice cream shop.
It is thought that the explosive, placed in a nearby parked car, was detonated remotely. Twitter users have posted graphic videos showing dazed victims lying outside the colourful ice cream shop covered in blood.
Speaking to Channel Nine, Al Harbiya's cousin Layla Alsaabary described her as a "bubbly" school girl. "We can't believe it, she is too small to go so early," Ms Alsaabary said. "No one can believe it, we hear about these things, the victims of terrorist attacks, she was just going to buy ice cream… she didn't deserve to go to early. I still expect her to come and tease me and make fun. We're all humans and it's not right."
Karrada is a well-known ISIS target due to its majority Shiite population—the terror organisation believes Shia Muslims must be cleansed to create a "pure" Islamic faith. While ISIS has lost the stronghold it once held in some areas of Baghdad, attacks like this continue to occur. In July last year, another bombing in the Karrada area resulted in the deaths of more than 300 people, with that event also taking place during late night shopping hours.
Al Harbiya's funeral will be held on Wednesday.
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