Dozens dead in first major suicide attack in Baghdad since 2018
Dozens of people died in Baghdad on Thursday as a result of the first major suicide attack since 2018, according to multiple reports.
Two men blew themselves up in a market in Tayaran Square, killing at least 32 people and wounding 110 others. The same market was targeted in 2018 after then-Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi declared victory over the Islamic State, The Associated Press reported.
Authorities said the first suicide bomber detonated his explosives after a crowd gathered around him in the middle of the market as he cried out loudly that he was ill. The second detonated his own belt shortly after.
Iraqi military officials said the attack was the work of the Islamic State, according to the AP, though no one immediately claimed responsibility.
The group has been driven out of the territory it once controlled but has continued to make strikes against Iraqi forces and officials, particularly in the north of the country.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi discussed the attacks in an urgent meeting with top security officials, and security forces were deployed and roads blocked to prevent future attacks, Reuters reported.
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said on Twitter that the U.S. “strongly condemns the suicide attack,” which it called “a reprehensible act of cowardice that underscores the dangers of terrorism that millions of Iraqis continue to face.”
This attack is a reprehensible act of cowardice that underscores the dangers of terrorism that millions of Iraqis continue to face. We extend our condolences to the families of these victims, and hope for the swift recovery for those who were injured. 2/2
— U.S. Embassy Baghdad (@USEmbBaghdad) January 21, 2021
The United Nations assistance mission for Iraq also condemned the attack, saying, “Such a despicable act will not weaken Iraq’s march towards stability and prosperity,” CNN reported.