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At least 110 killed in Baghdad bombings claimed by Islamic State

The attack is the deadliest since US-backed Iraqi forces last month scored a major victory when it dislodged Islamic State from their stronghold of Fallujah.

by VICE News and Reuters
Jul 3 2016, 1:20pm

Des gens se rassemblent devant le site de l'explosion dans le quartier de Karrada à Bagdad, le 3 juillet 2016. (Khalid al Mousily/Reuters)

Baghdad residents commemorated the more than 110 people killed and hundreds wounded in candlelight vigils Sunday, held near the site of one of the two attacks that occurred Saturday night in the Iraqi capital.

Most of the casualties were due to a bomb that exploded in a busy shopping area as residents celebrated Ramadan, police and medical sources said on Sunday.

The attack is the deadliest since US-backed Iraqi forces last month scored a major victory when it dislodged Islamic State from their stronghold of Fallujah, an hour's drive west of the capital.


Iraqis at the scene of the blast also demanded greater security from Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Abide visited the site of the bombings earlier Sunday and was pelted with stones and bottles by residents, angry at what they felt were false promises of better security.

Videos posted on social media showed people running after the SUV convoy of Abadi as he departed Karrada after touring the scene, throwing pavement stones, bottles of water, empty buckets and slippers, venting their anger at the inability of the security forces to protect the area.

After a series of deadly bombings in Baghdad, Abidi ordered an offensive on the the Islamic State-held town of Fallujah, just west of Baghdad, which he said served as a launchpad for such attacks on the capital. However, bombings have continued.

In the most deadly attack, a refrigerator truck packed with explosives blew up in the central district of Karrada around midnight near a mall packed with people, killing 91 and injuring at least 200. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement circulated online by supporters of the ultra-hard line Sunni group. It said the blast was a suicide bombing.

Karrada was busy at the time as Iraqis eat out and shop late during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which ends next week with the Eid al-Fitr festival.

Others took to social media to call for the banning of ubiquitous "magic wand" bomb detection devices that were shown to be useless against explosives and marketed fraudulently years ago.

After the bomb, video posted on social media showed a large blaze in the main street of Karrada, a largely Shiite district with a small Christian community and a few Sunni mosques.

Reuters TV footage taken in the morning showed at least four buildings severely damaged or partly collapsed, including a shopping mall believed to be the target, and gutted cars scattered all around.

The toll climbed during the day as rescuers pulled out more bodies from under the rubble and people succumbed from their injuries.

In a second attack, a roadside explosive device also blew up around midnight in a market in al-Shaab, a Shiite district in the north of the capital, killing at least two people, police and medical sources said.

Now the militants were "trying to compensate for their humiliating defeat in Fallujah," said Jasim al-Bahadli, a former army officer and security analyst in Baghdad.

"It was a mistake for the government to think that the source of the bombings was restricted to just one area," he said. "There are sleeper cells that operate independently from each other."

Fallujah was the first Iraqi city to fall to Islamic State in January 2014. Abadi said the next target of the Iraqi forces is Mosul, the de facto capital of the militants and the largest city under their control in both Iraq and Syria.

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