Iraq conflict: Baghdad ice cream parlour hit by suicide attack


A wreckage of a car is seen at the site of car bomb attack near a government office in Karkh, Baghdad, Iraq (30 May 2017)Image copyright

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Both attacks came during the night when Muslims were out after breaking their Ramadan fasts

Two car bomb explosions in the heart of the Iraqi capital Baghdad have killed at least 26 people and wounded 95 others, sources say.

The first ripped through an ice cream shop just after midnight (21:00 GMT on Monday) in the Karrada district, where a crowd had broken their Ramadan fasts.

The Sunni jihadist group Islamic State said it had targeted a group of Shia.

There was no immediate claim for the second blast, which happened a few hours later in Karkh.

The scene of the attack, near the headquarters of the government’s pensions directorate in Shuhada Square, is also believed to have been busy.

An interior ministry source said 11 people were killed and 35 wounded.

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The al-Faqma ice cream parlour had been packed with customers

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Debris from the car bomb was still being collected on Tuesday morning

During Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn until sunset, many Baghdad residents stay up past midnight and eat out at restaurants and cafes.

Dozens of people were reportedly sitting on benches outside the popular al-Faqma ice cream parlour in Karrada, a predominantly Shia commercial area, when a car parked on the street nearby exploded.

A video posted on social media after the blast showed a young girl wandering around the scene dazed as a man screamed for help, while photos showed ice cream cups scattered on the bloodstained pavement.

Health ministry sources told the BBC that 15 people were killed and 60 wounded.

IS said an Iraqi suicide bomber had detonated an explosives-filled vehicle targeting a “gathering” of Shia, whom it considers irredeemable apostates.

The US envoy to the multinational coalition against IS, Brett McGurk, condemned the attack and expressed solidarity with Iraq.

“[IS] terrorists tonight in Baghdad target children & families enjoying time together at an ice cream shop. We stand w/Iraq against this evil,” he wrote on Twitter.

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Shops were destroyed by the second bombing, near a government office in Karkh

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The area had been busy with Iraqis who had stayed out late to shop

Ramadan, which began on Saturday, is often marked by increased violence in Iraq.

Last July, at least 324 people were killed in a truck bomb attack on a shopping centre in Karrada, where families were buying new clothes for Eid al-Fitr.

IS said it was behind the bombing, the deadliest single incident in Baghdad since the US-led invasion in 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Tuesday’s attacks come as Iraqi security forces continue an offensive to recapture the northern city of Mosul, the last major IS urban stronghold in the country.

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