A suicide car bombing claimed by the Islamic State group ripped through a busy Baghdad shopping district Sunday, killing at least 119 people in the deadliest attack this year in Iraq’s capital.
The blast hit the Karrada neighbourhood in the early hours of the day, as the area was packed with shoppers after sundown ahead of this week’s holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramazan.
It came a week after Iraqi security forces recaptured the city of Fallujah from IS, leaving Mosul as the only Iraqi city under the jihadists’ control.
The bombing also wounded more than 130 people, security and medical officials said.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the site of the bombing and vowed “punishment” for its perpetrators, his office said.
The attack set buildings in the area ablaze, reducing some to charred hulks and also torching shops.
Men carried the bodies of two victims out of one burned building and a crowd of people looked on from the rubble-filled street as firefighters worked at the site.
IS issued a statement claiming responsiblity for the suicide car bombing, saying it was carried out by an Iraqi as part of the group’s “ongoing security operations”.
The group said the bombing targeted members of Iraq’s Shia Muslim majority, whom the Sunni extremists consider heretics and frequently attack in Baghdad and elsewhere.