Gaghdad Bombing Kills 165 People Leaving More Than 200 Injured

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Double bomb attack in Baghdad has left 165 people killed and  225 are injured, police and medical sources said on Monday.

Numbers rose as bodies were recovered from the rubble and people succumbed to their injuries, the officials added.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the blasts on Saturday night into Sunday morning, the deadliest this year.

The attack on the shopping area of Karrada is the deadliest since US-backed Iraqi forces last month scored a major victory when it dislodged Islamic State from its stronghold of Fallujah, an hour’s drive west of the capital.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had ordered the offensive after a series of bombings in Baghdad, saying Fallujah served as a launchpad for such attacks on the capital. However, bombings have continued.

A convoy carrying Abadi, who had come to tour the site of the bombings, was pelted with stones and bottles by residents, angry at what they felt were false promises of better security.

A refrigerator truck packed with explosives blew up in the central district of Karrada, killing 115 people and injuring at least 200. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement circulated online by supporters of the ultra-hardline 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.

The White House on Sunday said the attack only strengthened the United States’ resolve to confront Islamic State. “We remain united with the Iraqi people and government in our combined efforts to destroy ISIL,” said the White House statement, referring to Islamic State.

Videos posted on social media showed people running after the SUV convoy of Abadi as he left 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.

Abadi declared three days of mourning for the victims, according to state-run media that also cited him saying he understood the angry reaction of residents.

Another video posted on social media showed a large blaze in the main street of Karrada, a largely Shi’ite 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 to their injuries.

Comments posted on social media accused security forces of continuing to use fake bomb detectors at checkpoints filtering traffic in Baghdad, five years after the scandal broke out about a device commonly known as the ‘magic wand’.

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