China Daily

Baghdad blast kills dozens on eve of Eid

Attack on busy market denounced by Iraqi leaders, UN chief, Iranian officials

- XINHUA—AGENCIES

BAGHDAD — At least 28 people were killed and 66 others wounded when a bomb ripped through a crowded market in eastern Baghdad on Monday, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said.

The huge explosion in the popular market in Sadr City, a suburban district of the capital, destroyed several nearby shops and stalls and damaged surroundin­g buildings on the eve of the Eid al-Adha festival.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi held an emergency meeting with security and intelligen­ce commanders to discuss the deadly attack, his media office said in a statement.

During the meeting, al-Kadhimi promised the families of the victims of the attack to hunt down the terrorists throughout the country, according to the statement.

In a tweet, Iraqi President Barham Salih described the incident as “a heinous crime and unparallel­ed cruelty”.

He added: “We will not rest until we uproot the hateful and cowardly terrorism.”

In offering his condolence­s to the families of the victims, Salih said: “They are targeting our civilians in Sadr City on the eve of Eid. They do not allow people to rejoice, even for a moment.”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday strongly condemned the attack, his deputy spokesman said.

Guterres extended his condolence­s to the families of the victims and to the government and people of Iraq. He wished those injured a speedy recovery, said Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman, in a latenight statement.

“This deadly attack ahead of the Eid al-Adha holiday is a reminder to us all that the scourge of terrorism knows no bounds,” the statement said.

The secretary-general underlined the need for the perpetrato­rs of this crime to be swiftly brought to justice, said the statement.

The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday also condemned the recent terrorist act in Baghdad, according to the ministry’s website.

“The barbaric act is a repetition of the vicious terrorist scenarios in Iraq,” said Saeed Khatibzade­h, spokesman of the ministry.

Khatibzade­h expressed condolence­s to the Iraqi government and people, announcing Iran’s readiness to cooperate with the Iraqi government in dealing with acts of terrorism in the country.

Islamic State claimed responsibi­lity for the attack, the extremist group’s Nasheer news agency said on the Telegram messaging platform, Reuters reported. It said one of its militants blew up his explosive vest among the crowds.

Rising death toll

Agence France-Presse reports put the death number at over 36.

Hospital sources said the death toll could rise as some of the wounded were in critical condition.

The statement from the Interior Ministry said a locally made IED was used in the attack, referring to the improvised explosive device.

In a statement early on Tuesday, the UN children’s agency UNICEF confirmed that children were killed and injured in the attack. “This horrific attack right before Eid al-Adha is a terrible reminder of the violence Iraqi children continue to face,” the statement said.

Video footage shared on social media after the blast showed bloodied victims and people screaming in terror at the market. The blast was so strong that it ripped the roofs off some market stalls.

Deadly bombings have been rare in Baghdad, as the security situation has improved in Iraq since security forces fully defeated Islamic State militants across the country late in 2017.

However, sporadic deadly incidents still occur in the war-ravaged country as IS remnants have since melted into urban areas or deserts and rugged areas, carrying out frequent guerrilla attacks against security forces and civilians.

 ?? KHALID MOHAMMED / AP ?? Damage is assessed at the blast-hit market in Sadr City, Iraq, on Monday.
KHALID MOHAMMED / AP Damage is assessed at the blast-hit market in Sadr City, Iraq, on Monday.

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