BAGHDAD: Two men blew themselves up in a crowded Baghdad market on Thursday, killing at least 32 people in Iraq’s first big suicide bombing in three years, authorities said, describing it as a possible sign of the reactivation of Islamic State terror group. Health authorities said at least 110 people had been wounded.
Major General Tahsin al-Khafaji, spokesman for the Joint Operations Command, which includes an array of Iraqi forces, said the first suicide bomber cried out loudly that he was ill in the middle of the bustling market, prompting a crowd to gather around him — and that’s when he detonated his explosive belt. The second detonated his belt shortly after, he said. “Daesh terrorist groups might be standing behind the attacks,” civil defence chief Major General Kadhim Salman said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.
Thursday’s attack took place in the same market that was struck in the last big attack, in January, 2018, when at least 27 people were killed.
PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi held an urgent meeting with top security commanders to discuss the suicide attacks, the premier’s office said. Iraqi security forces were deployed and key roads blocked.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis, who is due to visit Iraq in e arly March, denounced the attack as a “senseless act of brutality” and urged Iraqis to keep working to replace violence with peace.