A Baghdad suicide bombing has killed at least 30 people at a soccer match, reports CNN. The attack happened Friday at a soccer stadium in the al-Shuhadaa stadium in the city of Iskandariya, which is 30 miles from Baghdad. A video was posted on YouTube that reportedly showed the bombing. The suicide bomber detonated an exploding belt in the crowded stadium just as the soccer players were receiving trophies. The video has since been taken down.
The bomber attacked during a ceremony at the end of the match. ISIS have claimed responsibility for the Baghdad suicide bombing, the latest in a series of attacks in the area. Jan Kubis, the special representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Iraq, gave a statement shortly after the bombing.
“The evildoers are aiming their wrath at the innocent and vulnerable civilians. Daesh [ISIS] committed yet another atrocity, targeting families who were enjoying their weekend attending a football game in their hometown. This abhorrent act deserves the strongest condemnation.”
Kubis also “urged Iraqis to unite to thwart the terrorists’ goals of inciting sectarian tensions in the country.” Iskandariya is in a mixed Sunni-Shiite area and was known as the “triangle of death” due to the high number of attacks in the last few years.
The Baghdad suicide bombing turned a happy soccer game into a horrific scene and “wreaked carnage on the field.” Social media carried “pictures of the blast site [which] showed mangled goal posts smeared with blood,” according to Yahoo.
Ali Nashmi, 18, was at the stadium for the soccer match between local teams. He said “the suicide bomber cut through the crowd to approach the center of the gathering and blew himself up…”
The mayor of Iskandariya was killed in the Baghdad suicide bombing as he presented awards to the players, along with one of his bodyguards and security forces. Haidar Kadhem, 20, said “most of the crowd were young people,” and he “could see [the victims] strewn across the field, some dead, others wounded asking for help. It was just chaos.”
Kadhem added that he “was maybe 50 metres from the spot” and “the blast was extremely loud.”
Elizabeth Trudeau, spokesperson of the Department of State, reiterated the American government’s support to the Iraqi nation.
“‘The United States remains committed in its support to the Iraqi people and the unity of Iraq.'”
Twitter carried condolences and messages of horror about the suicide bombing.
Many people commented on the difference in reactions between the Baghdad suicide bombing and the attacks in Brussels last week. At least 31 people were killed in the attacks on an airport and a subway train in Brussels, while 300 are still suffering injuries from the bombings.
ISIS released a statement on social media claiming that the suicide bomber was named SaifAllah al-Ansari, and al-Ansari appears to have been a teenager. In the statement, ISIS called the suicide bomber their “knight” who turned the murdered people “into scattered parts.” The number of people injured from the Baghdad suicide bombing is “more than 100,” and the figure is likely to rise. The total number of fans attending the match, or the number of players, is not known.
Suicide bombings have been on the increase in Iraq recently. Earlier this month a suicide bomber in a truck killed 60 people in a town north of Baghdad. A twin-bombing of Baghdad in February killed 70 people, as previously reported in The Inquisitr.
As ISIS loses more of its occupied land to the Iraqi state forces, it is expected to turn to “insurgent-style attacks”. The Guardian reports that Isis has recently “lost 40 percent of the territory in Iraq and about 20 percent in Syria.” Experts say there are also likely to be more attacks in Baghdad, further afield in the Middle East and in Europe. Sadly, the Baghdad suicide bombing doesn’t look like it will be the last.
[Photo by Muhannad Fala’ah/Getty Images]