Iraq violence: IS bombing kills 125 Ramadan shoppers in Baghdad

At least 125 people have been killed and about 150 injured in an explosion claimed by the Islamic State group in Baghdad, Iraqi police say.

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Among the worst-damaged buildings was the popular al-Hadi Centre

A car bomb exploded on a busy street in the central district of Karrada late on Saturday.

The mainly Shia area was busy with shoppers late at night because it is the holy month of Ramadan.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was met by angry crowds while visiting the scene of the blast on Sunday.

A second bomb also exploded at about midnight in a predominantly Shia area north of the capital, killing another five people.

The bombing in Karrada is the deadliest in Iraq this year.

It comes a week after Iraqi security forces recaptured the city of Falluja from Islamic State (IS) militants. Authorities say the city was used as a launch pad for attacks on Baghdad.

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A huge clear-up operation is under way in Karrada

Deadly message from IS: Jeremy Bowen, BBC Middle East editor, Baghdad

The destruction and death adds up to a clear message from the jihadists of so-called Islamic State. They are saying that even if they are defeated on the battlefield, they can still hit back where it really hurts – killing civilians in the centre of the Iraqi capital, and other capital cities, too.

IS have just suffered a serious defeat at the hands of Iraqi forces in Falluja. The town, less than an hour’s drive from Baghdad, has been in their hands since early 2014. IS are showing their supporters, and their enemies, that they are not beaten.

So many were killed and wounded because the streets are crowded at night at the end of a day’s fasting during Ramadan, with thousands in a mood to celebrate.

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Funerals are being held for those killed in the attacks

It is only realistic to fear that there will be more attacks like this, as IS comes under more military pressure.

The jhadist group, which follows its own extreme version of Sunni Islam, said in an online statement that it carried out the attack.

Iraq’s highest Sunni religious body, the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq, called the bombing a “bloody crime, regardless of who carried it out or what their motivations were”.

Source:BBC News