• Wednesday, Feb 01, 2023
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Rare twin suicide attack kills at least 32 in Baghdad

  • Published at 02:03 pm January 21st, 2021
Iraq suicide bombing
The site of a twin suicide bombing attack in a central market is seen in Baghdad, Iraq on January 21, 2021 Reuters

There was no immediate claim of responsibility

At least 32 people were killed in a rare twin suicide bombing in a commercial district of Baghdad on Thursday, the first such attack in three years. 

The Iraqi military said two attackers wearing explosive vests had blown themselves up among shoppers at a crowded market in Tayaran Square in central Baghdad. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

"Daesh terrorist groups might be responsible for the attacks," Civil Defence chief Major General Kadhim Salman told reporters, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

The hard-line Sunni Muslim group captured vast areas of Iraq and imposed its own rule before being defeated in 2017 by Iraqi forces backed with US air power.

The death toll had risen to 32 from 23 initially reported, with 110 more people wounded, Iraq's health ministry reported.

The health ministry said it had mobilised medics across the capital to respond to the deadly attack.

Police sources said Iraqi security forces had been deployed and key roads blocked to prevent possible further attacks.

Suicide bombings were once common in Baghdad but have been rare in the Iraqi capital since Islamic State was driven out. The last deadly suicide blast in the city, also at Tayaran Square, killed at least 27 people in January 2018.

"The attacker was standing in the middle of a crowd and pretended to be sick, and then blew himself up and tore people to pieces," said a street vendor who had been standing near the blast site.

A video taken from a rooftop and circulated on social media purported to show the second blast scattering people gathered in the area. Images shared online showed several people apparently dead or wounded. The images are yet to be verified. 

Militants from Islamic State remain in Iraq, waging an insurgency against Iraqi forces and attacking local officials in northern areas. Government and military officials are sceptic whether the group is still able to take over significant territory but warn that it will continue to wage attacks that threaten Iraq's stability and security.

Iraqi forces continue to fight the remaining Islamic State militants and are working to secure the border with Syria across which the group has often moved personnel.

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