At Least 84 Killed In Islamic State-Claimed Bombing In Baghdad

By Merrit Kennedy

Iraqi firefighters and civilians evacuate bodies of victims killed from a bomb at a commercial area on Sunday in Karada neighborhood, Baghdad, Iraq.

Iraqi firefighters and civilians evacuate bodies of victims killed from a bomb at a commercial area on Sunday in Karada neighborhood, Baghdad, Iraq. Khalid Mohammed/AP hide caption

toggle caption Khalid Mohammed/AP

A bomb struck a busy street in Iraq’s capital Baghdad, killing at least 84 people.

It exploded in the Karada neighborhood, “where people were gathering to shop, socialize and watch soccer during a hot, lively Ramadan night,” as NPR’s Alice Fordham tells our Newscast unit. She adds that many people were sitting in sidewalk cafes where they had been watching a European soccer match.

Iraqi officials tell Alice that they expect the death toll to rise, but have not yet released further figures.

Images from the scene show multiple charred buildings, burned-out cars and twisted metal. Civilians and rescue workers search for survivors and carry out bodies as family members of the missing wait for news.

Iraqi family members whose relatives went missing after the bomb hit Karada.

Iraqi family members whose relatives went missing after the bomb hit Karada. Hadi Mizban/AP hide caption

toggle caption Hadi Mizban/AP

At dawn on Sunday, hours after the attack, firefighters were “still working to extinguish the blazes and bodies were still being recovered from charred buildings,” The Associated Press reports. It adds that many of those killed are children.

The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in an online statement, though NPR was not able to independently verify the claim.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi later visited the site of the bombing, where angry residents pelted him “with shoes, water bottles and lumps of rock,” as Alice reports. Video circulating on social media appears to show angry crowds and the prime minister’s hastily-departing convoy.

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A video posted by al-Abadi on Facebook shows the tense-looking prime minister moving through the crowd surrounded by security personnel, amid screaming and racing ambulances.

This bombing comes a week after Iraqi forces said they wrested control of the city of Fallujah from ISIS fighters. Fallujah is just 35 miles from Baghdad, and the extremist organization used it as a staging ground to mount attacks on the capital.

“As ISIS has lost more territory to Iraqi security forces and their allies, they have carried out more insurgent attacks,” as Alice reports. “The prime minister has won some support for recent military victories but there have also been many protests against him in Baghdad.”

An Iraqi man looks for victims at the bomb site in Baghdad.

An Iraqi man looks for victims at the bomb site in Baghdad. Hadi Mizban/AP hide caption

toggle caption Hadi Mizban/AP

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Source:: http://www.npr.org/2016/07/03/484562646/baghdad-bombing-islamic-state?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=storiesfromnpr