BAGHDAD • A suicide car bombing claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group ripped through a busy Baghdad shopping district yesterday, killing at least 125 people in the deadliest single attack this year in Iraq's capital.
The blast hit the Karrada district early in the day as the area was packed with shoppers ahead of this week's holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. It came a week after Iraqi security forces recaptured Fallujah from ISIS, leaving Mosul as the only Iraqi city under the militant group's control. The bombing also wounded about 200 people, security and medical officials said.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the site of the attack and vowed "punishment" for its perpetrators, his office said.
The huge blast set buildings in the area ablaze, and firemen were still working to extinguish them some 12 hours later.
Men carried the bodies of two victims out of one burned building and a crowd of people looked on from the rubble-filled street as firefighters worked at the site.
WHO IS THE ENEMY?
I will return to the battle front. At least there, I know the enemy so I can fight him. But here, I don't know who I'm fighting.
FORMER SOLDIER HUSSEIN ALI. Six workers at his family shop were killed in the attack.
Mr Hussein Ali, a 24-year-old former soldier, said six workers at his family's shop were killed in the attack, their bodies burned so badly that they could not be identified.
"I will return to the battle front. At least there, I know the enemy so I can fight him. But here, I don't know who I'm fighting," he said.
ISIS issued a statement claiming responsibility for the suicide bombing, saying it was carried out by an Iraqi as part of the group's "ongoing security operations".
The militant group said the blast targeted members of Iraq's Shi'ite Muslim majority, whom the Sunni extremists consider heretics and frequently attack in Baghdad and elsewhere.
Another explosion in the Shaab area of northern Baghdad killed another five people yesterday, the BBC reported. But the cause of the blast was disputed.
Bombings in the capital have decreased since ISIS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in June 2014, with the militants apparently occupied with operations elsewhere. But the group has struck back against Iraqi civilians after suffering military setbacks.
A video posted on social media showed men - apparently angry at the government's failure to prevent the carnage in Karrada - throwing rocks towards what was said to be Mr Abadi's convoy.
A bystander could be heard cursing Mr Abadi in another video.
Iraqi forces completely recaptured Fallujah, a city 50km west of Baghdad, from the militants a week ago.
Anti-government fighters seized Fallujah in early 2014 and it later became one of ISIS' main strongholds in the country.