At least 136 people, including 25 children were killed and more than 200 people were injured in two car bombings Sunday morning in Iraq’s capital Baghdad, according to the broadcasting company, Al Jazeera.
Multiple sources report that the first car bomb went off in a crowded commercial area in Baghdad called Karada early Sunday, where several young people and families had gathered after sunset, after breaking their daylight fast for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Officials said most of the victims were inside a multistory shopping mall where they either burned to death or suffocated.
Sources also said a lorry packed with explosives blew up in a busy, predominantly Shia neighborhood, shopping street in Karada.
It was in these two bombings that 131 people were killed and approximately 200 were injured, local police and hospital employees told Al Jazeera.
According to the SITE Intelligence Group, a US-based monitoring service, in an online statement, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group claimed responsibility for the attack.
The death toll may rise as more bodies can be lying under the ruins of devastated buildings, officials said.
The second bomb went off a few moments later Sunday morning in a popular market in the mainly Shia neighborhood of al-Shaab. Reports said 16 were wounded and at least five people were killed in that attack. No one has taken responsibility for the second bombing.
The deadly attacks happened approximately one week after Iraqi forces dislodged ISIL fighters from Fallujah.
Despite multiple territorial gains by Iraq’s ground forces against ISIL, ISIL still controls Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul and has shown they are still capable of launching attacks in Iraqi territory far from the front lines.
Iraqi politician Mowaffak Baqer al-Rubaie told Al Jazeera that ISIL was “resorting to classic, traditional terrorist acts” in response to losing territory in Iraq.”
“They are so desperate to boost the morale of their fighters, many of whom are leaving the group daily. I think attacks like this will increase,” he said.