The attack Sunday is the deadliest in the Iraqi capital in 2016
BAGHDAD (Iraq) – The death toll from devastating back-to-back market bombings the previous day in eastern Baghdad climbed to 73 on Monday, officials said.
Several of the critically wounded died overnight while 112 people remain in hospital, two police officials said. Also, at least five people were still missing after the blast that ripped through the crowded Mredi market in the Shiite district of Sadr City, followed by a suicide bombing amid the crowd that had quickly gathered at the site to help the victims.
The attack Sunday is the deadliest in the Iraqi capital this year.
The suicide bombers rode motorcycles and blew themselves up in the bustling mobile phone market in the mainly Shiite district of Sadr City, wounding more than 100 people, Reuters reported, citing police sources.
The Islamic State-affiliated Aamaq news agency claimed responsibility for the Sadr City bombings. The militant Sunni Muslim group controls key areas in northern and western Iraq and regularly targets government forces, civilians and especially Shiites.
Iraq’s Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, called on security forces to “exert further efforts to prevent the terrorists from carrying out their crimes against innocent civilians.”
Al-Abadi, in a statement released late Sunday, said the attacks “will not stop us … but they will increase the determination” of the army, security forces and paramilitary troops to dislodge the militants from areas under their control.
The special U.N. envoy to Iraq, Jan Kubis, called the Sadr City bombings a “particularly vicious and cowardly terrorist attack” aimed against “peaceful civilians who were going about their daily business.”
“It is clearly aimed at inflaming sectarian strife,” he said Monday.
The market bombings in Sadr City were the deadliest attack in a wave of explosions that targeted other commercial areas in and outside Baghdad on Sunday and brought the day’s overall death toll to 92.
Seven other civilians were killed in attacks elsewhere and in Baghdad’s western suburb of Abu Ghraib, security forces earlier Sunday repelled an attack by IS militants that killed at least 12 members of the government and paramilitary troops and wounded 35 others.