Baghdad blasts: Death toll crosses 200

RSTV Bureau
Baghdad : Iraqi security forces look for victims as civilians gather at the site after a car bomb at a commercial area in Karada neighborhood, Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, July 3, 2016. Bombs went off early Sunday in two crowded commercial areas in Baghdad. AP/PTI

Baghdad : Iraqi security forces look for victims as civilians gather at the site after a car bomb at a commercial area in Karada neighborhood, Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, July 3, 2016. Bombs went off early Sunday in two crowded commercial areas in Baghdad. AP/PTI

Two bombs exploded in Baghdad in Iraq, killing at least 200 people and injuring more than 150 others on Sunday morning.

Bombs went off in two separate places. A car bomb hit Karada, a busy shopping district in central Baghdad claiming maximum lives, said officials.

The victims in Karada were mostly families and the young people were out on the streets after breaking their daylight fast for the holy month of Ramadan.

In the second attack, an improvised explosive device went off in eastern Baghdad, killing less than 10 people.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the Karada bombing in a statement posted online. The group said it deliberately targeted Shiite Muslims.

Hours after the bombing, Iraq’s Prime Minister visited the blast site. Video footage uploaded to social media showed an angry crowd, with people calling Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi a “thief” and shouting at his convoy.

Earlier on Sunday fire fighters were working to extinguish the blazes and bodies were being recovered from charred buildings. Many of the dead were children, according to Associated Press reporters at the scene.

An eyewitness said the explosion caused fires at nearby clothing and cellphone shops.

The Baghdad attacks come just over a week after Iraqi forces declared the city of Fallujah “fully liberated” from IS. Over the past year, Iraqi forces have managed territorial gains against IS, retaking the city of Ramadi and the towns of Hit and Rutba, all in Iraq’s vast Anbar province west of Baghdad.

Despite the government’s battlefield victories, IS has continued to launch the attacks. The terror outfit still controls Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul as well as significant patches of territory in the country’s north and west.

(With inputs from PTI)