Kandariyah, Iraq: Iraq on Saturday buried 32 victims, among them many young boys, of a suicide attack that ripped through a trophy ceremony after a local football tournament. The attacker, a teenager on a photo distributed by the Islamic State group that claimed the attack, cut through a crowd and blew himself up.
Broken cups lie on the ground as people inspect the aftermath of a suicide bombing at a soccer field in Iskandariya. pic/AP
“There are 32 dead and 84 wounded, 12 of whom are in a critical condition,” an official in Babil province health directorate said. “Seventeen of those killed are boys aged between 10 and 16,” the official said. The attack took place in the village of Al-Asriya, which lies near Iskandariyah, a town about 40 kilometres south of the capital. The bomber detonated his suicide vest late afternoon on Friday as local officials were handing trophies to the players after the tournament. A video posted on social media shows a local official speaking in front of a table covered with trophies and calling out the name of a player before a huge blast. The footage cuts off with a big flash of yellow light. The mayor, Ahmed Shaker, was among the dead, as was one of his bodyguards and at least five members of the security forces.
The US state department extended its condolences, as did United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon, who was visiting Iraq for talks. “I express my deepest condolences to the people and government of Iraq, and particularly those members of the families affected by terrorist attacks yesterday,” he said.
The Asian Football Confederation also released a statement condemning the bombing. “Using football and sport stadiums as a stage for heinous acts of violence is a cowardly, completely unjust and indiscriminate act,” the AFC said.