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 militants 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-Azha, 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 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 that at least 36 people were killed and about 60 wounded.