Car bombs target Baghdad shopping districts, more than 120 dead

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Iraqis, including firefighters, gather at the site of a suicide car bombing claimed by the Islamic State group on July 3, 2016 in Baghdad's central Karrada district. The blast, which ripped through a street in the Karrada area where many people go to shop ahead of the holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, killed at least 75 people and also wounded more than 130 people, security and medical officials said. The Islamic State group issued a statement claiming the suicide car bombing, saying it was carried out by an Iraqi as part of the group's "ongoing security operations". / AFP / SABAH ARAR (Photo credit should read SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images)

BAGHDAD, Iraq – At least 125 people were killed and 147 others were wounded Saturday in central Baghdad, police said.  A suicide truck bomber carried out the attack on a busy commercial street in the Karrada neighborhood, a predominantly Shiite area.  The blast killed 25 children.  It also destroyed a multi-level building that included a coffee shop, stores and a gym.

Iraq’s capital was once again the scene of bloody carnage this weekend, with two separate car bombs killing at least 125 people.

The first detonation occurred on a busy shopping street in the central Baghdad neighborhood of Karrada on Saturday.

Firefighting crews pulled injured and trapped people from adjacent buildings caught in the massive blast.

The second bomb exploded at an outdoor market in the Shaab neighborhood of southeastern Baghdad, killing one person and wounding five others, police said.

Iraqis evacuate a body from the site of a suicide car bombing claimed by the Islamic State group on July 3, 2016 in Baghdad's central Karrada district. The blast, which ripped through a street in the Karrada area where many people go to shop ahead of the holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, killed at least 75 people and also wounded more than 130 people, security and medical officials said. The Islamic State group issued a statement claiming the suicide car bombing, saying it was carried out by an Iraqi as part of the group's "ongoing security operations". / AFP / SABAH ARAR (Photo credit should read SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Iraqis evacuate a body from the site of a suicide car bombing claimed by the Islamic State group on July 3, 2016 in Baghdad’s central Karrada district.
The blast, which ripped through a street in the Karrada area where many people go to shop ahead of the holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, killed at least 75 people and also wounded more than 130 people, security and medical officials said. The Islamic State group issued a statement claiming the suicide car bombing, saying it was carried out by an Iraqi as part of the group’s “ongoing security operations”. / AFP / SABAH ARAR (Photo credit should read SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images)

The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Karrada attack in a statement posted on Twitter. The group claimed it was targeting Shiite neighborhoods. Karrada and Shaab are predominately Shiite.

“This is a cowardly and heinous act of unparalleled proportions, to target peaceful civilians in the closing days of the holy month of Ramadan including shoppers preparing for the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday,” Ján Kubiš, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General (SRSG) for Iraq, said in a statement Sunday.

“This shows Daesh’s wanton intentions to kill, maim and demoralize,” he added, using the Arabic language acronym for the terror group.

Meanwhile, amateur videos posted on social media showed what appeared to be angry residents throwing objects at the convoy of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Karrada.

“Thief!” and “get out!” protesters were heard yelling, as Abadi and other officials attempted to survey the bomb damage. Many are angry at the government’s apparent inability to maintain security in the capital.

Recent surge

Baghdad has witnessed a surge in the number of deadly car bomb attacks in recent weeks, with ISIS claiming responsibility for many of them.

One of the deadliest incidents occurred in Sadr City on May 17, when a car packed with explosives detonated killing at least 24 people and wounding 71 others, according to security officials.

That was followed by two more explosions in the al-Shaab neighborhood in the north of the capital, which killed at least 19 people and wounded another 44. A female suicide bomber may have been responsible for one of the blasts, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said.