At least 18 people were killed and 53 others were wounded in a suicide blast on Saturday, targeting a Shia congregation in Iraq’s capital Baghdad, a police official said. The bomber detonated a belt containing explosives in a marquee set up for people to take part in Ashura in the predominantly Shia neighbourhood of al-Shaab, an Efe news report said.
The death toll could rise due to the number of people seriously injured in the attack, the police official added. Shia Ashura marks the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, who was killed in the 7th century in Iraq, during the battle of Karbala.
Terrorist group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. In a statement, the group said that the attack on Saturday was carried out “in the middle of a gathering” in the Shaab area of Baghdad.
Earlier this year, the terror group revived its terror campaign in Baghdad killing hundreds of people, which is seen as a response to the group’s loss of much of its territory in the country.
In July, A lorry packed with explosives was detonated in Baghdad’s district of Karrada in what was the deadliest single bomb attack in Iraq since 2007. As many as 292 people had lost their lives and more than 200 were injured in the attack.
The Saturday’s attack comes as forces in Iraq get ready for an offensive in on Mosul, the last IS-held major city.