32 Dead, 110 Injured After Twin Suicide Bombings Blast Baghdad Market

At around 10 am AST, two consecutive explosions ripped through a crowded market in the Iraqi capital killing 32 civilians and injuring 110. Many other civilians are in a serious condition and the death toll is expected to rise, according to Iraqi’s health minister Hassan Mohammed al-Tamimi.

As casualties were raced to nearby hospitals, stall owners were left in disbelief as they assessed the aftermath of bodies, unsold bloodied-clothing, and debris. Due to Iraq’s coronavirus restrictions, the Tayaran Square markets only recently reopened to shoppers and vendors.

Major General Tahsiri al-Khafaji, the spokesperson for the Joint Operations Command, said the suicide bomber made his way to the middle of the busy market and cried out to the crowd of shoppers, exclaiming that he was ill. As nearby civilians rushed to his aid, an explosive belt was detonated. Minutes later, a second bomb was detonated by a suicide bomber who drove into the markets on a motorbike.

The destruction left behind at the site of the deadly bombings. (Picture: Hadi Mizban/AP)

No one claimed responsibility for the attack immediately, however, Iraqi officials later confirmed it was the work of the Islamic State who claimed the bombings were aimed at Iraqi Shiite Muslims.

The blast targeted Iraqi’s poorest working-class and is the first suicide bombing in three years. The last mass-casualty, targeting the same square, took place in January 2018 killing 27 people and injuring dozens more.

Following Thursday’s bombings, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered an emergency meeting of his cabinet and security officials, while President Barham Salih condemned the attacks.

“The twin terrorist bombings against the safe citizens of Baghdad at this time confirm the attempts and endeavours by dark groups to target the national needs and aspirations of the Iraqi people for a peaceful future. We stand firmly against these rogue attempts to destabilise our country.”

The attacks come days after the Iraqi government announced they were holding early elections in October amid rising political tensions. Last year, anti-government protestors took to the streets to demand political change. More than 500 were killed as security was forced to use tear gas and live rounds to diffuse crowds.

Anti-protestor’s gather on the closed Joumhouriya Bridge to mark one year since the deadly anti-government demonstrations across Baghdad. (Picture: Khalid Mohammed/AP)

Faith in the country’s preparedness for such attacks is wavering with questions on whether Iraqi’s security forces can stave off a militant threat that is yet to be completely eradicated. This is despite the US government declaring ISIS as largely defeated, as they have been withdrawing most of their troops from the country and have felt assured that Iraq is capable of fighting ISIS on their own.  

Although the threat has been weakened, local authorities fear this fresh attack on the capital could be a possible sign of a resurgence of the Islamic State. Iraq is already grappling with a catastrophic economic crisis brought on by low oil prices, which has forced the government to borrow money internally, resulting in a devaluation of the Iraqi dinar, among other economic turmoils.

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About Katelyn Ludewigs 18 Articles
After completing her bachelor's degree in screen culture at Griffith University, Katelyn followed her passion for the arts and has written several scripts for both screen and stage. When she isn't writing fictive absurdity, Katelyn enjoys writing about the big, wide, round (or flat?) world. Katelyn is completing her master's degree in writing and literature at Deakin University.