Families bury loved ones after deadly Baghdad blast

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed at least 35

Families on Tuesday buried loved ones who were among at least 35 killed in a bombing hours earlier in a busy market in Iraq’s capital.

Coffins were carried by relatives and placed on minibuses that took them to the burial after funerals were conducted on Monday night.

The blast occurred on Monday in a market in Sadr City, a Baghdad suburb, that was crowded with shoppers before the Eid Al Adha holiday.

Iraq’s military said its investigation found that the blast was caused by a bomber who detonated a suicide vest in the middle of the popular market.

Iraqi security officials initially said the attack was caused by a roadside bomb.

The military said at least 50 people were wounded in the attack, which was the third against Sadr City this year.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. It said in a statement posted online that the bombing was carried out by a man it identified as Abu Hamza Al Iraqi.

Child victims

The attack occurred a day before Eid Al Adha, when many residents were shopping for gifts and clothes.

Hussein Al Lami laid to rest his nephews Murtada and Amir Sahi, both 12, on Monday night, soon after they were killed in the attack.

“The calamity was huge, especially for the parents and relatives of the two martyrs,” Mr Al Lami said.

“Today, Iraqis are spending Eid with calamity after they suffered in this terrorist act. Now there is misery in every Iraqi house.”

At the dilapidated Sadr General Hospital, where most victims were taken, Ali Faisal, a young doctor, said many were “dead on arrival”, and others suffered burns and fractures.

“I, myself, declared the time of death for two children, a six-year-old and an eight-year-old,” he told AFP.

“A four-month-old baby was also killed.”

Waiting in the corridor was Nowraz, 25, wearing a face mask and a flowing black abaya.

She said she was waiting to see her cousin, Saberin, who survived the blast but was wounded.

Saberin had gone to the market with her 16-year-old daughter, Aya, and her 18-month-old son.

“We didn’t know they were at the market,” said Nowraz. “She went with Aya and her son to buy clothes for Eid.”

The infant survived with serious burns, but Aya died.

“She’s in a terrible state,” Nowraz said of her cousin. “We’re afraid to tell her that her daughter is dead.”

A history of attacks

In June, 15 people were wounded when a bomb placed under a kiosk in another Sadr City market was detonated.

In April, at least four people were killed in Sadr City by a blast caused by an explosive device attached to a parked car at the market.

Large bomb attacks, once an almost daily occurrence in Baghdad, have slowed in recent years since ISIS was defeated on the battlefield in 2017.

While sporadic attacks still cause appalling suffering, the scale of attacks has also decreased in recent years.

At Al Qaeda in Iraq’s peak – the forerunners of ISIS – mass-casualty car bombings in Sadr City were common. In November 2006, at least 144 people were killed in a series of bombings in the area, one of the worst incidents in the sectarian conflict that was gripping the country at the time.

The attack on Monday has drawn widespread condemnation.

In a message to his envoy in Iraq, Pope Francis expressed his deep sadness at the loss of life.

He “sends condolences to the families and friends of those who have died”, the Vatican said on Tuesday evening.

The Pope also renewed “his fervent prayers that no act of violence will diminish the efforts of those who strive to promote reconciliation and peace in Iraq”.

He made a pilgrimage to Iraq in March, when he emphasised the need for peaceful coexistence in the country.

Updated: July 21st 2021, 4:23 PM