Death toll in Baghdad bombing climbs past 200

BAGHDAD, July 4 (UPI) — As more bodies are discovered in the rubble of a Baghdad suicide bombing two days ago, the death toll has passed 200, an official said.

At least 225 more were injured when an explosives-laden pickup truck exploded at a market in Baghdad’s Karrada district Saturday night as families prepared for Eid-al-Fitr, the celebration which accompanies the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Mohamed al-Rubaye‎, the deputy head of the security committee of the Baghdad Provincial Council, told Afaq TV Monday 81 of the dead are so badly burned that DNA testing will be required to identify them.

The blast set nearby buildings on fire, and many victims suffocated or burned to death, officials said.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest in a series of incidents it promised during Ramadan. The Baghdad incident came after a string of assaults during the holy month either claimed by IS or inspired by it, including a café attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh; at Istanbul’s major airport; at security targets in Yemen; suicide attacks in Lebanon and Jordan; at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla., and the killing of a French police commander and his partner.

Baghdad was hit by a second bombing hours after the Kerrada explosion, in which one person died and five were injured, police said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the Kerrada site and was heckled and insulted by onlookers who blame his government for not curtailing bloodshed at the hands of IS, and his motorcade was pelted with stones. In a statement he said IS was attempting to reduce the country’s happiness after recent military victories against IS and the recent retaking of the city of Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, by Iraqi military forces. Officials assured Baghdad residents the bombings would stop after the capture of Fallujah.

“We’ve had it with the Iraqi government and politicians. They can’t continue blaming Daesh (IS) and other terrorist groups. We need a solution. I lost several friends myself, some are still missing,” college student Sadeq al Zawini, 25, told CNN as he watched rescue workers remove bodies from the Kerrada explosion.

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