Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a busy street market in central Baghdad on Monday, in back-to-back explosions that killed at least 16 people, the Interior Ministry said. The Health Ministry said 26 died.
The attackers struck during the rush-hour at the city’s Tayran Square, said the ministry’s spokesman, Maj. Gen. Saad Maan. The area around the square is usually crowded by laborers seeking work and the explosions also wounded at least 65 people, he said.
The Health Ministry, meanwhile, gave a far higher casualty toll. Spokesman Saif al-Badr said 26 people were killed and that 90 were wounded but the Interior Ministry couldn’t confirm those figures. Different casualty tolls are common in the immediate aftermath of such large attacks.
Ambulances rushed to the scene as security forces sealed off the area with yellow tape. Slippers could be seen scattered about on the blood-stained pavement as cleaners hurried to clear the debris. Photographs posted on social media showed lifeless bodies and pieces of limbs.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but it bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group, which has claimed many such attacks in the past.
The twin explosions shocked residents in the Iraqi capital because large attacks had decreased significantly in Baghdad and other parts of country since security forces retook nearly all territory once held by IS militants.
Iraqi and US officials have warned that IS would continue with insurgent-style attacks even after the Iraqi military and U.S.-led coalition succeeded in uprooting the Islamic State group across the country.
The cost of victory has been nearly incalculable as the three years of war against IS devastated much of northern and western Iraq – roughly a third of the country – where Islamic State militants had held most of the territory. (France24)