Car bomb strikes Baghdad market, killing 51

A car bomb ripped through a busy commercial street in a Shiite area of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 51 people and wounding scores more in the deadliest blast in the capital in more than three months.

BAGHDAD — A car bomb ripped through a busy commercial street in a Shiite area of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 51 people and wounding scores more in the deadliest blast in the capital in more than three months.

Many victims were trapped in their apartments by a raging fire that engulfed at least one building, according to police and Interior Ministry officials, who also said about 75 people were wounded.

Stunned survivors stumbled through the rubble-strewn street, which was filled with the smoke from burning vehicles, witnesses said.

The attack shattered the relative calm in the capital since a May 11 ceasefire ended seven weeks of fighting between U.S. and Iraqi forces and Shiite militants in the Sadr City district. Ironically, it came the same day the Iraqi parliament announced plans to move outside the U.S.-protected Green Zone.

Angry survivors blamed the army and police for failing to protect them.

“The blast occurred because there wasn’t any security presence by the Iraqi army or police at the scene, not even any checkpoint,” said Khalid Hassan, 40, who suffered shrapnel wounds and burns. “People were confused, upset and running in all directions. We are all victims of terrorism and carelessness.”

The bomber struck around 5:45 p.m. near a market and bus stop in the Hurriyah district of west Baghdad, scene of some of the most horrific sectarian massacres during the wave of Sunni-Shiite slaughter in 2006.

Kamil Jassim, a witness, said the blast set fire to a generator used by residents and shopkeepers to supplement city power. The fire quickly spread to a two-storey building containing both shops and apartments where many of the victims were found.

Haider Fadhil, a 25-year-old metal worker, said he was shopping with two friends when the blast hurled him to the ground.

“When I regained consciousness, I found that my left hand and leg were broken,” Fadhil said from his bed in a nearby hospital, where anguished families wept as they jammed the waiting rooms. “Thanks be to God for saving me and thanks to those who carried me in their pickup truck to the hospital.”

The blast was the deadliest attack in Baghdad since March 6, when a pair of bombs detonated in the mostly Shiite district of Karradah, killing 68 people and wounding about 120.

No group claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s blast, and both Sunni and Shiite militants have used car bombs in their attacks.

U.S. officials said American soldiers were attending a meeting of a neighbourhood action committee about 150 metres from the blast site but it was unclear if they were the target.

“This is a senseless and tragic event,” said Lt.-Col. Steve Stover, a spokesman for the U.S. military’s Baghdad command. “What’s to gain by terrorizing the population? …This is simply an evil act.”

U.S. commanders have warned repeatedly that the relative peace in Baghdad is fragile because extremists, including “al-Qaida in Iraq” and Shiite militant groups, remain capable of high-profile attacks.

The Americans hope that security measures are enough to prevent extremists from mounting a sustained campaign of bombings against civilians that could provoke a return to sectarian reprisal attacks.

Also Tuesday, an Iraqi state television journalist, Muhieddin Abdul-Hamid, was shot to death near his apartment in the northern city of Mosul, officials said.

Colleagues said the 50-year-old journalist was a local anchor for the TV station in Mosul, the focus of an ongoing U.S.-Iraqi operation against the last major urban stronghold of “al-Qaida in Iraq.”

Excluding Abdul-Hamid, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 129 journalists and 50 media support workers have been killed since the U.S. invasion in 2003.

In other violence Tuesday, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle struck a Baghdad checkpoint manned by U.S.-allied fighters, killing one and wounding four, officials said.

Another suicide car bomber attacked a police checkpoint in Baqouba, northeast of Baghdad, killing one policeman and wounding 19 other people, officials said.

Gunmen also killed a senior police officer and two of his guards near Aziziyah, a Shiite area 35 miles southeast of Baghdad.

Just Posted

Victim in 2015 murder stabbed a dozen times

Daniel Boyd Sawyer on trial for second-degree murder

North Pole Stroll returns with Red Deer Lights the Night, Late Night Shopping

Red Deer’s Lights the Night and late night shopping events are back… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer’s Canyon Ski Resort is ready for the 2019 Canada Winter Games

The upgrades prepare the resort to host free-style skiing and snowboarding events

Red Deer man patrols streets at night after his truck was stolen twice in 3 months

‘I stay up every single night, they drive around, they test every car door…’

Lowry has strong words for Raptors’ lack of communication after loss

TORONTO — Raptors coach Nick Nurse might not have had a good… Continue reading

S. Korea’s ‘Garlic Girls’ accuse coaches of derailing team

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — The Garlic Girls, South Korea’s hugely popular… Continue reading

Trump administration defends its case against CNN’s Acosta

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s administration is trying to fend off a… Continue reading

Long hidden, Marie Antoinette’s jewels go up for auction

GENEVA — Diamond and pearl earrings, pearl necklaces, a giant pearl pendant… Continue reading

A No-Go: Athletes and officials weigh in after Calgary votes ‘no’ to 2026 bid

TORONTO — Rotating Olympic hosts? A single go-to destination every four years?… Continue reading

Predators may have NHL’s best goalie combo on, off ice

NASHVILLE — Pekka Rinne is off to an even better start than… Continue reading

Canadian Premier League buys Ontario’s League 1, looks to develop talent there

TORONTO — The Canadian Premier League has bought Ontario’s League 1 and… Continue reading

Most Read