The blast, which the Islamic State (IS) group said it carried out, hit the Karrada district early Sunday as the area was packed with shoppers ahead of this week’s holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
The attack sparked anger among Iraqis at the government’s in ability to keep them safe even as its forces push IS back, and pronpted Prime Minister Haider al Abadi to announce efforts to address longstanding flaws in Baghdad security measures.
Abadi’s office announced three days of national mourning for the victims of the attack and he vowed to “punish” the perpetrators of the blast.
The attack, which security and medical officials told AFP killed at least 213 people, including 25 children and 20 women, came a week after the country’s forces recaptured Fallujah from IS, leaving Mosul as the only Iraqi city under the jihadisr group’s control.
The blast sparked infernos in nearby buildings, and emergency personnel and family and friends of the victims were still searching yesterday for those missing following the explosion.