A suicide bomber struck a market in Sadr City on the eve of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. Several of teh injured are in a critical condition. Women and children were among the victims. The bloodiest attack in the last six months in the Iraqi capital. The premier has ordered the arrest of the head of security in the area.
Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) - At least 35 people were killed and dozens injured in a suicide attack that struck a crowded market in Sadr City, a suburb of Baghdad, yesterday evening, on the eve of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. Security and hospital sources report that at least 60 people were involved in the explosion, some of whom are reportedly in life-threatening conditions.
The Islamic State (IS, formerly Isis) claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement published on its Nasheer agency and relayed via Telegram. A militiaman allegedly set off an explosive belt after blending into the crowd at the al-Wuhailat market, which was large at the time of the attack for evening shopping during a festive period.
Eyewitnesses claim that women and children were among the victims and several shops were set on fire.
This is the bloodiest attack in Baghdad in the last six months. In the past, attacks used to take place on an almost daily basis, but they dramatically decreased in 2017 following the military defeat at the hands of the Iraqi army and US forces, which marked the end of the project of an Islamic caliphate in the region.
In the hours after the explosion, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi chaired an urgent meeting with top security and other military ranks. He also reportedly ordered the arrest of the federal police commander, responsible for security in the area where the attack took place. President Barham Salih posted a message on social media referring to a "terrible crime" targeting civilians "on the eve of Eid. We will not stop until terrorism is eradicated at its roots".
In April, in Sadr City, Isis launched an attack using a car bomb in a local market, killing four people. The neighbourhood, with a large Shiite majority, is one of the main targets of the Sunni jihadist movement, which is still active in Asia and Africa, where it carries out attacks and bloody violence.