Baghdad bomb death toll hits 250

  • 06/07/2016
Baghdad bomb death toll hits 250

The death toll from a massive suicide bombing in Baghdad over the weekend has reached 250, Iraq's Health Ministry says.

The attack, claimed by Islamic State militants, which the government is battling in the country's north and west, was the deadliest of the many car bombings in Baghdad since the 2003 US-led invasion, deepening the anger of many Iraqis over the weak performance of the security apparatus.

The attack showed Islamic State (IS) remains capable of ad-hoc attacks causing major loss of life despite losing considerable ground on the battlefield, most recently the city of Fallujah, an hour's drive west of the capital.

Iraq's interior minister, Mohammed Ghabban, said that the explosive-packed vehicle came from the eastern province of Diyala, blaming a lack of communicating between multiple forces in charge of the capital's security.

He told Reuters in an interview last month that a recent spate of IS bombings in Baghdad would not end unless "disorder" plaguing Iraq's security apparatus was rectified.

He said then that security forces outside his control - including units reporting to two counter-terrorism agencies, two Defence Ministry directorates and regional security commands - overlap with his ministry's own counter-intelligence efforts.

He now has resigned and says a deputy would take over his responsibilities.

Meanwhile, the top UN human rights official has called on Iraq to stop groups that are fighting alongside government forces against Islamic State from taking revenge on civilians and to clarify the fate of hundreds who went missing.

Witnesses say a government-affiliated Shi'ite militia that helped the army recapture Fallujah from IS in early June abducted more than 600 Sunni Muslim men and boys who had just fled the city.

The disappearances, along with the Baghdad bombing "increase the likelihood of a renewed cycle of full-throttle sectarian violence", UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a statement on Tuesday.

AAP/Reuters