Iraqis gathered in central Baghdad Saturday evening to watch the Euro Cup and break the Ramadan fast were targeted in the third mass slaughter carried out in ISIS’s name in the past week.
At least 126 people, including 25 children, and another 200 were wounded when a car bomb exploded in a crowded shopping district in Karrada, in the Iraqi capital, as CNN reported. The deadliest attack in Iraq in the past year, the suicide bombing occurred just a little over a week after US-backed Iraqi forces liberated Fallujah from ISIS control.
A second bomb exploded around midnight Saturday night in another predominantly Shiite area north of the capital, killing five more people.
“These attacks only strengthen our resolve to support Iraqi security forces as they continue to take back territory from ISIL, just as we continue to intensify our efforts to root out ISIL's terrorist network and leaders,” the White House said in a statement.
An hour’s drive west of Baghdad, Fallujah was thought to serve as a launch pad for suicide bombers attacking Baghdad and Iraqi officials claimed that retaking Fallujah would improve security in and around Baghdad.
When Iraqi Prime Minister Haider-al-Abadi arrived at the scene of the Karada attack, his convoy was surrounded by civilians furious that their government’s military campaign and security measures had failed to prevent the attack.
In a statement, al-Abadi said he understands the reaction in "that moment of grief" by the residents who threw objects at his convoy, according to CNN, and he said he came to Karrada to console families and "share their sorrow in this painful tragedy that happened."
"The lists of victims I saw included whole families – the father and his sons, the mother and her daughters – whole families were wiped out by this explosion," a member of the civil defense forces told Yahoo! News. "We need a number of days to be able to recover the bodies of victims. It is a difficult task." On Sunday, families posted photos of missing loved ones online in the hopes of locating them.
ISIS swiftly claimed responsibility for the bombing in a statement posted online, saying it had targeted Shiite Muslims, according to the Associated Press, while others vowed to stand united in the face of attacks designed to fuel sectarian tension and undermine confidence in the government.