The deadliest single attack in the country in 10 years has left at least 170 injured
Baghdad: An attack by the Islamic State group on a crowded marketplace in Iraq’s eastern Diyala province has killed 115 people, in one of the deadliest single attacks in the country in the past decade.
An Iraqi woman stands amid the debris in the aftermath of a massive suicide car bomb attack carried out by the Islamic State group in the predominantly Shiite town of Khan Bani Saad, Baghdad. Pic/afp
The mostly-Shiite victims were gathered to mark the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which ended Friday for Iraqi Shiites and a day earlier for Iraqi Sunni Muslims.
Police said a small truck detonated in a crowded marketplace in the town of Khan Beni Saad Friday night in what quickly turned celebrations into a scene of horror, with body parts scattered across the market. At least 170 people were injured in the attack, police officials said.
Men quickly emptied boxes of tomatoes to use them for carrying the bodies of small children, witnesses said, while adult victims lay scattered around the attack scene waiting for medical assistance.
“Khan Beni Saad has become a disaster area because of this huge explosion. This is the first day of Eid, hundreds of people got killed, many injured, and we are still searching for more bodies,” said Diyala resident Sayif Ali.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on Twitter accounts associated with the militant group.
Iraq’s speaker of parliament, Salim al-Jabouri, said that the attack has struck an “ugly sectarian chord,” and added that government is making “attempts to regulate Daesh's terror from destabilising Diyala security,” referring to the militant group by its Arabic acronym. But anger is rife in the volatile province, where a number of towns were captured by the Islamic State group last year. Iraqi forces and Kurdish fighters have since retaken those areas, but clashes between the militants and security forces continue.
Security forces were out in full force across Diyala on Saturday, with dozens of new checkpoints and security protocols immediately implemented in the wake of Friday's attack. “This horrible carnage is truly outside all boundaries of civilized behaviour,” Jan Kubis, the special representative of the United Nations mission in Iraq, said Saturday.
Meanwhile, reports emerged Saturday that the Islamic State group used projectile-delivered poison gas against Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria on several occasions last month,