BAGHDAD: At least 65 people were killed in a triple bombing that targeted a tent filled with mourners in Baghdad’s Shia stronghold of Sadr City yesterday, police said.
A car bomb went off near the tent where a funeral was being held, a suicide bomber driving a car then blew himself up, and a third explosion followed as police, ambulances and firefighter were gathering at the scene, police said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, in which at least 120 others were wounded, medics said.
“Crowds of people were visiting the tent to offer their condolences when suddenly a powerful blast ... threw me to ground,” said 35-year-old Basim Raheem.
“When I tried to get up, a second blast happened. My clothes were covered with blood and human flesh. I thought I was wounded, but later discovered I was lying in a pool of others’ blood,” he added.
Witnesses said distraught survivors attacked policemen and firefighters who tried to move them away from the scene. Puddles of blood surrounded the tent.
In a separate incident, at least eight people were killed when a car bomb exploded in a busy street in the predominantly Shia Ur district of northern Baghdad, police said.
Earlier, five suicide bombers wearing SWAT uniforms attacked a police base in Baiji in the morning, while most of its forces were out on a mission, killing five police. Police killed one of the bombers, who were on foot, but the others managed to detonate their explosives inside the base. More than 540 people have now been killed so far this month and over 4,300 since the beginning of the year.
In addition to major security problems, the Iraqi government has also failed to provide adequate basic services such as electricity and clean water, and corruption is widespread. And political squabbling has paralysed the government, which has passed almost no major legislation in years.
The Sadr City blasts came a day after two bombs exploded in a Sunni mosque north of Baghdad, killing 18 people. The United Nations deputy special representative for Iraq, Gyorgy Busztin, had expressed “extreme concern” this week about sectarian-based displacement of Sunnis and members of the small Shabak minority, and the killing of Sunnis in the country’s south.