Iraqis evacuate a body from the site of a suicide car bombing claimed by the Islamic State group on July 3, 2016 in Baghdad's central Karrada district. (AFP/Sabah Arar)

Death toll rises to 151 in Daesh Baghdad bombing

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared three days of mourning Sunday in the aftermath of a car bomb attack in the capital Baghdad that killed at least 151 people.
The attack, which was claimed by Daesh, hit al-Karada, a busy shopping district in central Baghdad, at 1.00 a.m. local time (2200GMT), a security source told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The bombing left 151 people dead and at least 185 others injured, according to a health ministry source speaking anonymously due to safety fears.
The bombing was swiftly claimed by Daesh, which overran vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq in 2014.
In a statement circulated online, the group said that the bombing targeted Shia Muslims. The statement could not be independently verified.
Visiting the bomb site, Abadi connected the attack to Daesh’s recent territorial losses. “The terrorists carried out the bombing in the al-Karada district after being crushed in the battle of Fallujah,” he said, vowing to punish the perpetrators.
Fallujah was recaptured from Daesh by Iraqi forces last week.
The area was busy with shoppers late at night due to Ramadan when the blast -- the deadliest in Iraq this year -- tore through a main street.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning the bombing. “We condemn this outrageous attack and we wish mercy for those who lost their lives in this attack, hope the wounded recover quickly and express our condolences to the Iraqi nation,” it said.
The US also denounced the attack. “These attacks only strengthen our resolve to support Iraqi security forces as they continue to take back territory from ISIL, just as we continue to intensify our efforts to root out ISIL’s terrorist network and leaders,” National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said, using an alternative acronym for Daesh.