Islamic State says it was responsible for carrying out a massive truck bombing in a crowded Baghdad market has killed dozens of people. Reports say at least 76 people died and at least 200 people were wounded in the early morning explosion at Jameela market in the predominantly Shia Sadr City neighbourhood. ocal residents rushed to help the victims, moving bodies in rubbish bags and sending the wounded to local hospitals in ambulances or in their own cars.
The blast burned much of the market, leaving charred wooden market stalls and scattering fruits and vegetables far around it – one witness described seeing produce covered with blood. Firemen could be seen dousing the still-smouldering area with water long after the explosion. “A refrigerator truck packed with explosives blew up inside Jamila market at around 6am,” said one police officer, going on to explain it was impossible to distinguish it from other trucks delivering produce to the market.
“Many people were killed and body parts were thrown on top of nearby buildings. “On Thursdays the market is especially crowded because people come from the other provinces to stock up on food for the weekend,” one of the officers said. Sky News’ Foreign Affairs Editor Sam Kiley said: This is the most “spectacular” attack that Islamic State have managed to perpetrate inside Baghdad.
“They’ve been pressing at the edge of the capital since June last year following their incredibly rapid advance against the rest of Iraq. “They’ve been held back now by air strikes and a more coherent response particularly, though, from Shia militia who have been armed and trained by the government.”The Shia militiary have really been in the vanguard of the fighting to prevent Islamic State getting into Baghdad and trying to recapture from IS nearby Ramadi.
“What this is aimed at is to try to reignite a sectarian conflict. “It’s all rapidly deteriorating into a sectarian conflict anyway there but there are numbers of Sunni tribes that are sitting on the fence or would turn against IS if they felt secure within a Shia-dominated Iraqi government structure.” The attack is one of the largest attacks on the Iraqi capital since Prime Minister Haider al Abadi took office a year ago.
Mr Abadi came to power following the collapse of the army when IS took over the northern city of Mosul. That has left the government relying on Shia forces to defend Iraq’s capital city and recapture lost land. Government-supporting forces are currently trying to remove IS fighters from the Sunni heartland of Anbar in western Iraq.