Iraqi PM’s convoy pelted with stones after deadly blasts hit Baghdad
Video footage uploaded to social media showed the angry crowd, with people calling Abadi a ‘thief’ and shouting at his convoy
A convoy carrying Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi who had come to tour the site of the deadly bombings was pelted with stones and bottles by residents, angry at what they felt were false promises of better security.
A refrigerator truck packed with explosives blew up in the central district of Karrada, killing 91 people and injuring at least 200. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement circulated online by supporters of the ultra-hard line Sunni group. It said the blast was a suicide bombing.
Video footage uploaded to social media showed the angry crowd, with people calling Abadi a “thief” and shouting at his convoy.
Eyewitness said the crowd pelted Abadi’s car with rocks, shoes and jerry cans.
Karrada was busy at the time as Iraqis eat out and shop late during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which ends next week with the Eid al-Fitr festival.
Another video posted on social media showed a large blaze in the main street of Karrada, a largely Shiite district with a small Christian community and a few Sunni mosques.
Reuters TV footage taken in the morning showed at least four buildings severely damaged or partly collapsed, including a shopping mall believed to be the target, and gutted cars scattered all around.
The toll climbed during the day as rescuers pulled out more bodies from under the rubble and people succumbed from their injuries.
Until the government launched its Fallujah operation, the prime minister had faced growing social unrest and anti-government protests sparked, in part, by popular anger at the lack of security in the capital. In one month, Baghdad’s highly-fortified Green Zone - which houses government buildings and diplomatic missions - was stormed twice by anti-government protesters.
In Karada civilians expressed their frustration at the government’s failure to secure the capital.
“We are in a state of war, and these places are targeted. The security can’t focus on the war (against IS) and forget Baghdad,” Sami, the street vendor, said.
The UN envoy for Iraq, Jan Kubis, described the Karada attack as “a cowardly and heinous act of unparalleled proportions” and urged the Iraqi government to redouble its security efforts to protect Iraqis during celebrations for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan.
(With Reuters, AP)
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