Iraqis mourn at site of fatal bombing which killed 250 people

Published July 8th, 2016 - 04:00 GMT
Iraqis gather at the site of the suicide car bomb which killed at least 250 people. (AFP/File)
Iraqis gather at the site of the suicide car bomb which killed at least 250 people. (AFP/File)

The streets near the Iraqi capital's Karrada neighborhood on Wednesday night were filled with mourners who had gathered to pay homage to the memory of the victims.

Some of them carried national flags while others held candle lights. Many wept and beat their chests in mourning for the dead.

The tragedy came after a bomber detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle as families were shopping in preparation for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

The attack overshadowed what would normally be a joyful holiday for Muslims, turning it into a time of mourning and grief.

Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it targeted Shia Muslims. However, the shopping area of Karrada is also home to Sunnis as well as a sizable Christian community.

"The Christian community in Iraq, especially in Baghdad, gathered to visit this sorrowful site," Adel Kanna said on Wednesday.

"I ask God to give patience and fortitude to the families of the martyrs," he said.

On Tuesday, Sunni Muslims joined a congregation outside charred buildings at the blast site to say their Eid al-Fitr prayers.

Extremists specifically chose the area which usually teems with shoppers in order to exact maximum casualty. The attack was the deadliest in Iraq since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

"We came from all the areas of Baghdad to stand in solidarity with the people of Karrada and the martyrs of Karrada," said Haider Mohammed Hassan, one of those gathered at the bomb site.

The attack triggered international condemnation and expressions of commiseration but most of the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf and across the Arabian Peninsula chose to remain silent.

From Iran to Spain, Sweden and the UK, mourners have held candlelight vigils and draped their landmarks with Iraqi flags in a show of solidarity.

Many Iraqis, however, are surprised at the indifference shown by Persian Gulf Arab countries. Some of the Iraqis have even taken to social media to express their disappointment.

The apparent apathy stands in sharp contrast to Saudi leaders' frequent outbursts about the role of volunteer forces who are fighting Daesh and other extremists in Iraq.

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