Up to 32 people were killed and 61 injured Monday morning when a suicide bomber detonated at a bustling Baghdad market area, just hours after French President Francois Hollande touched down in the area to meet Iraqi officials and troops with the France army.
BBC reported ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, which came by way of two separate explosions ripping through the Iraqi capital.
“The explosions happened one after another in the busy al-Sinak market. More than 50 people were injured.
“Police said a roadside bomb exploded near a car spare parts shop, then a suicide bomber detonated his device among the crowd that had gathered.
Baghdad has seen frequent attacks, often targeting Shia districts.
“IS released a statement saying two of its militants had carried out the bombings wearing suicide vests.”
This is the second major attack in Baghdad in three days. RTE reported the death count at 32; other media outlets, including the Guardian and Fox News, put the death toll between 16 and 18. Authorities, however, said the death count is likely to rise.
“Many of the victims were daily labourers waiting for jobs at an intersection in Sadr City, a sprawling majority Shia neighbourhood in the northeast of the capital that has been repeatedly targeted.
“Pictures posted on social media shortly after the explosion showed a huge plume of black smoke billowing into the sky and seriously injured people being evacuated. …
“The so-called Islamic State jihadist group has claimed responsibility for the attack.”
This is just the latest in a wave of attacks claimed by ISIS.
ISIS just claimed responsibility for Saturday’s suicide attack in another Baghdad market that left 28 dead, and for a Sunday suicide attack at a checkpoint in Baghdad that killed at least nine.
On Monday, ISIS also claimed responsibility for the Istanbul shooting at a popular nightclub during new Year’s celebrations that left dozens dead and injured.
More on Monday’s Baghdad market attack, from Fox News:
“The attack came Hollande started an official visit to Iraq to meet officials and French troops. During his one-day visit, Hollande met with Iraqi President Fuad Masum and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in the capital, Baghdad. Later, he’ll travel to the country’s self-governing northern Kurdish region to meet French troops and local officials.
“Iraqi troops, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, are fighting IS in a massive operation to retake the northern city of Mosul. Iraqi state TV said Holland will discuss “increasing support to Iraq and the latest developments in the fight against Daesh,” the Arabic acronym for IS.
“In quotes published by the Elysee official Twitter account, Holland promised that France would remain a long-term ally of Iraq and called for coordination between intelligence services “in a spirit of great responsibility.”
“France is part of the U.S.-led international coalition formed in late 2014 to fight IS after the extremist group seized large areas in Iraq and neighboring Syria and declared an Islamic “caliphate.” France has suffered multiple terrorist attacks claimed by IS.
“Hollande, on Twitter, said Iraq was in a precarious position two years ago, when IS made its blitz. But now the tide has turned. ‘The results are there: Daesh is in retreat and the battle of Mosul is engaged.'”