Iraq: Market bomb attack kills 30, including children
Baghdad, July 20: The "Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for a bombing that killed at least 30 people and injured dozens more in a crowded market in the eastern part of the capital city of Baghdad.
The attack by the Sunni militant group came on the eve of Eid al-Adha holiday celebrations in Sadr City, a Shiite majority neighborhood that has been bombed by IS in at least two other instances this year.
Iraqi President Barham Salih mourned the cruelty of the attack and called the bombing a "heinous crime."
"They are targeting our civilians in Sadr City on the eve of Eid," Salih tweeted.
He added that the group didn't allow people to even rejoice for a moment and that "we would not be calm unless we uproot the hateful and cowardly terrorism."
IS said a suicide bomber named Abu Hamza al-Iraqi detonated his explosive belt in the middle of a crowd in Sadr city on Monday night.
Iraqis had gathered in the busy market to shop ahead of the Muslim festival of sacrifice.
About seven children may have been killed, according to medical sources cited by news agency AFP. Though the exact figures are unknown, UNICEF, the UN's children agency, confirmed in a statement that children had died.
How did officials react?
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi held an urgent meeting with top security and military commanders to discuss the attack.
"A terror attack using a locally made IED (improvised explosive device) in Woheilat Markt in Sadr City, in east Baghdad, left several victims dead and others injured," Iraq's interior ministry said in a statement.
Aid agencies bemoaned the bombing.
"This horrible attack right before Eid Al-Adha is a terrible reminder of the violence Iraqi children continue to face," UNICEF said in a statement.
Rise in bomb attacks in Sadr City
This was not the first time a bomb went off in busy areas of Sadr City. In June, a bomb placed under a kiosk in another market in the city wounded people. No one claimed responsibility for the attack.
In April, a car bomb attack in the city, claimed by IS, killed 4 people and injured at least 20.
At the beginning of the year, IS claimed responsibility for a bomb attack that killed more than 30 people in a centrally located market in Baghdad. That marked Iraq's first big suicide bombing in three years.
Even though large bomb attacks were once a daily occurrence in the Iraqi capital, the number of incidents had dwindled ever since an IS invasion of northern and western Iraq was defeated in 2017.
The latest attack comes two months ahead of federal elections that are slated for October 10.