x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Woman suicide bomber strikes in Baghdad

A woman suicide bomber has killed 35 people, including women and children, and wounded 65 others on a religious march in northern Baghdad today.

A woman suicide bomber killed 35 people, including women and children, and wounded 65 others on a religious march near the Kadhimiyah shrine in northern Baghdad today, a government official said. "A woman wearing an explosive belt blew herself up near one of the gates of the shrine," Maj Gen Qassim Atta said. "According to our first preliminary report 35 were killed and 65 injured. Most of them were Iranian pilgrims and women and children," said Maj Gen Atta, who is Iraqi spokesman for security operations in Baghdad.

He described the force of the blast as "very big." An interior ministry official put the death toll at 38. The US military said it was aware of the bombing but was awaiting a casualty report. The attack was the deadliest in Iraq since December 11 when at least 55 people were killed and 95 wounded in a suicide bombing at a restaurant outside the northern city of Kirkuk. Today's attack came just two days after a male suicide bomber killed at least 23 people and wounded 72 at a tribal meeting just south of Baghdad.

Suicide bombings in particular are a hallmark of insurgents linked to the Al Qaeda network. The latest bombing is likely to raise concerns about the ability of Iraqi forces to maintain security in the capital after the US handed back part of the security brief to Iraq forces on January 1, as mandated by UN. * AFP