Iraq: Car bombs kill 27 in central Baghdad, Islamic State target Shias in Ramadan
Images and footage posted on social media showed the devastating impact of the blast in Baghdad. One photo showed cups of ice cream scattered on the blood-stained ground.world Updated: May 30, 2017 21:44 IST
Two bombings killed at least 27 people and wounded more than 115 in Baghdad, officials said Tuesday, as Iraqi forces fight to retake the last Islamic State group-held areas of Mosul.
A car packed with explosives blew up near a popular ice cream shop in the commercial Karrada district, killing at least 13 people and wounding 40 just after midnight (2100 GMT on Monday).
A few hours later, a second bombing killed ten people and wounded 44 more near a government office in Karkh district.
The bomber struck just days after the start of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, during which Iraqis often stay out late shopping or socialising after breaking their daily fast.
Islamic State, the Sunni hardline group that controls parts of Iraq and Syria, claimed both attacks in statements on its Amaq news agency.
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 centre 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.
Tuesday’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.
Brett McGurk, the envoy to the US-led anti-IS coalition, condemned the attack and expressed solidarity with Iraq.
“ISIS terrorists tonight in Baghdad target children & families enjoying time together at an ice cream shop. We stand w/Iraq against this evil,” McGurk said on Twitter, using an alternate acronym for IS.