Iraqis Vent Anger And Blame Over Baghdad Bombing That Killed At Least 157

July 4, 2016

The death toll from Sunday’s bombing of a crowded street in central Baghdad has risen to at least 157, and Iraqis have responded angrily, blaming politicians and security agencies for not securing their capital. Iraq’s leader got a hostile reception when he visited the area.

The death toll in this attack, one of the worst single strikes to hit Baghdad, has kept rising as emergency and recovery crews work in the area. The Associated Press reports that at least 60 of the dead are women and children, and that more than 190 were wounded in the bombing.

From Beirut, NPR’s Alice Fordham reports:

“At a demonstration at the bombing site Sunday evening, Iraqis blamed the government for being corrupt. In an outpouring of anger and frustration on social media, some called the head of security in Baghdad to be replaced, and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was pelted with rocks when he visited the site.

“The attack was one of Iraq’s worst, and the head of civil defense in the Karrada area of Baghdad said on state TV that he had never seen a bomb like this — the flames spread further and were more powerful than the car bombs that hit Baghdad several times a month.”

Other parts of last night’s demonstrations at the scene of the bombing included a candlelight vigil.

Announcing the start of three days of national mourning over the attack, Abadi said via an official statement Sunday: “With deep sorrow, pain and sympathy, we mourn the martyrs of the tragedy of the heinous, dastardly and cowardly bombing at Karrada in Baghdad at dawn today. Dozens of sons of our dear people were killed in the attack.”

As we reported Sunday, “The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in an online statement, though NPR was not able to independently verify the claim.”

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