Death toll rises to 32 in DAESH attack on Iraqi soccer field

At least 32 people killed and 84 others injured in DAESH attack on football field in Baghdad

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Residents carry the body of a victim of a bomb attack at a checkpoint in the city of Hilla, south of Baghdad, March 6, 2016.

Updated Mar 26, 2016

A suicide bomber detonated an explosive belt on a football pitch as trophies were being presented after a local tournament south of Baghdad Friday, killing at least 32 people and wounding 84 others. 

"There are 32 dead and also 84 wounded, 12 of whom are in critical condition," an official in Babil province health directorate told AFP.

He also added that 17 of those killed are boys aged between 10 and 16. 

DAESH terror group claimed responsibility for the attack in the village of Al Asriya near Iskandariya, a town 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of the capital.

The field was packed with supporters, officials and security forces that had gathered after the game.

"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," Ali Nashmi, an 18-year-old eyewitness, told AFP.

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," a medic at Iskandariya hospital said, adding that one of his bodyguards and at least five members of the security forces were also among those killed.

DAESH terrorists, who control swathes of territory in Iraq's north and west, promptly released a statement on social media saying they were behind the attack.

Earlier this month, DAESH had also claimed an attack that killed at least 60 people, 80 km further south, in Hilla, when an explosive-laden fuel tanker slammed into an Iraqi security checkpoint.

The group has been losing territory steadily in Iraq for almost a year. 

An apparent escalation of large bombings targeting areas outside the DAESH’s primary control suggests that Iraqi government forces may be stretched thin after recent gains against the group in the western and northern provinces.

TRTWorld and agencies