At least 160 people have been killed and about 185 injured due to two explosions in Iraq’s capital on Saturday night, NBC News recently reported. A so-called Islamic State group has taken responsibility for the first bombing in Baghdad, which killed at least 25 children.
The exact death toll from these attacks are conflicting given that some media outlets have reported that the killings have been as low as 125 people and as high as 172. But as of now, the Iraqi government has yet to release an official number of those who have lost their lives.
The first car bombing, which was the deadliest, occurred late Saturday night on a busy street in the Karrada district. It’s being reported that the area was so busy because it is the holy month of Ramadan and residents were out shopping and celebrating. Hours later, a second car bomb went off early Sunday morning just north of the capital.
“It was like an earthquake,” Karim Sami, a 35-year-old street vendor, told the AP. “I wrapped up my goods and was heading home when I saw a fire ball with a thunderous bombing. I was so scared to go back and started to make phone calls to my friends, but none answered.”
The bombings demonstrated the extremists’ ability to mount significant attacks despite major battlefield losses, including the city of Fallujah, which was declared “fully liberated” from ISIS just over a week ago, Mashable noted. Yet, the violence persists. According to the United Nations, in the first six months of 2016 alone in Iraq, 2,735 civilians have been killed.
On Sunday, The White House stressed that these recent attacks underscore the importance of the United States’ continued support in helping Iraq fight ISIS.
“The United States strongly condemns ISIL’s heinous terrorist attacks in Baghdad last night that killed over 100 people, including families gathering to break their Ramadan fast and those joining millions around the world in watching the Euro Cup. We remain united with the Iraqi people and government in our combined efforts to destroy ISIL. These attacks only strengthen our resolve to support Iraqi security forces as they continue to take back territory from ISIL, just as we continue to intensify our efforts to root out ISIL’s terrorist network and leaders.”
It’s been a bloody week of attacks in the Asia and the Middle East. On Tuesday, an Istanbul airport killed 45 people and on Friday, gunmen in Bangladesh attacked a restaurant, NBC News noted.
This is a developing story. We will provide updates as they become available.