58 killed in truck bomb blast in Baghdad market: Iraq officials

Baghdad: A massive truck bomb ripped through a popular Baghdad food market in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in the early morning hours today, killing at least 58 people, police officials said.

The truck detonated in the Jameela market in the Iraqi capital’s crowded Sadr City neighborhood shortly after dawn, according to two local police officers. They also said that at least 89 people were wounded in the attack.

Residents rushed to help the victims, carrying corpses in garbage bags and sending the wounded to local hospitals in ambulances or in personal cars.

The blast incinerated much of the market, leaving charred wooden market stalls and scattering fruits and vegetables far around it.

Fire trucks and ambulances rushed to the scene and fire men were dousing the still-smoldering complex with water long after the explosion.

“On Thursdays the market is especially crowded because people come from the other provinces to stock up on food for the weekend,” one of the officers said.

He said the truck that set off the explosion was a refrigeration truck, so it was impossible to distinguish it from other trucks delivering produce to the market.

Four hospital officials confirmed the casualty figures.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Islamic State militants commonly target military checkpoints or predominantly Shiite neighborhoods such as Sadr City, with the goal of sending a message to the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.

Last month, the militant group targeted a popular market in the eastern province of Diyala, killing more than 115 people in one of the worst-single attacks to tear through the country in a decade. (AP)