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Football pitch suicide attack kills 30 south of Baghdad - UPDATED


Baku-APA. A suicide bomber blew himself up on football pitch as trophies were being presented after a local tournament south of Baghdad Friday, killing at least 30 people, APA reports quoting AFP.

 

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, that wreaked carnage on the field where supporters, officials and security forces were gathered after the game.

"They were just handing the trophy to the winners, the suicide attacker blew himself up in the crowd," a police captain from the village, Al-Asriya, told AFP.

The village is near Iskandariyah, a town about 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of the capital.

 

The police captain said more than 65 people were also wounded in the blast.

A medic at Iskandariyah hospital confirmed the toll and warned it could rise further.

Pictures posted on social media of the site of the blast showed mangled goal posts smeared with blood.

 

"The suicide bomber cut through the crowd to approach the centre of the gathering and blew himself up as the mayor was presenting awards to the players," said Ali Nashmi, a 18-year-old eyewitness.

The mayor, Ahmed Shaker, was among the dead.

"The mayor died in hospital as a result of the serious wounds he suffered in the blast," the medic said, adding that one of his bodyguards and at least five members of the security forces were also among those killed.

The jihadist IS group promptly released a statement on social media claiming responsibility for the attack and posting a picture of the purported bomber.

"Our knight immersed into their crowds, until he detonated his belt, turning them into scattered parts," the statement said, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group.

 

***

22:53

Baku-APA. A man wearing a suicide belt walked into a Iraqi soccer stadium Friday and blew himself up -- killing at least 25 people and wounding 80 more, security officials said, APA reports quoting CNN.

The attacker struck during a game at al-Shuhadaa stadium in the Babil province city of al-Iskandariya, roughly 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Baghdad.

 

ISIS claimed responsibility, according to a statement posted online by supporters.

The Sunni Islamist extremist group has boasted about terrorist attacks around the world, most recently this week's carnage in Brussels that killed 31 people and wounded more than 300.

 

The bulk of ISIS' brutal actions -- not to mention the vast majority of its active members -- are in the Middle East. It spawned in the mid-2000s from al Qaeda in Iraq, and it has captured large swaths of territory in both Iraq and neighboring Syria in recent years.

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