27 dead, dozens wounded as pair of suicide bombers attack Baghdad

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Iraqi security forces inspect the site of a bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

Two suicide bombers attacked central Baghdad Monday morning, setting off explosions that killed at least 27 people and injured dozens more. The bombing is the first major attack in the capital city since Iraq declared victory over the Islamic State in December.

The attack took place in the heart of the capital city, at the busy Tayaran Square, where many day laborers and shopkeepers where gathered to begin the day of work. According to witnesses, the pair of suicide bombers were seen wearing explosive belts before the explosions occurred.

Brigadier General Saad Maan of the Interior Ministry said in a statement that 90 people were wounded in the attack. However, according to a Health Ministry spokesman, the number of injured people was 102.

No one has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place in one of Baghdad’s most secure areas.

According to the Iraqi Interior Ministry, the first suicide bomber targeted the crowded square at around 7 a.m. The second explosion occurred less than 10 minutes later in the same area.

The second bomb is typically used by insurgent groups to target police, emergency workers, and bystanders who would respond to the first explosion.

According to witnesses, the square was filling up with sidewalk vendors, shoppers, and day laborers, when the first explosion occurred. As people rushed to help the victims of the blast, the second bombing came.

“Human flesh was everywhere, and we moved the victims using wood carts before the ambulances arrived,” said Ali Mohammed Jaafar, a 42-year-old lawyer.

Jaafar also noted that many of the victims were young men. “All of them are young poor people that left families behind with unknown future,” he said.

The Monday bombing comes just days after another bombing that took place Saturday at Aden Square in northern Baghdad, where several people were killed and wounded.

The recent attacks broke the delicate peace that Baghdad has enjoyed over the last three months, and could be proof that the Islamic State has not been entirely eradicated from the country.