BAGHDAD – Two suicide bombers, one in an explosives-laden car and the other on foot, hit a cluster of funeral tents packed with mourning families in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad, the deadliest in a string of attacks around Iraq that killed at least 92 people Saturday.
The assaults, the latest in a monthslong surge of violence, are a chilling reminder of insurgents determination to re-ignite sectarian conflict more than a decade after the U.S.-led invasion.
Thousands of Iraqis have been killed in violent attacks in recent months – a level of bloodshed not seen since Iraq pulled back from the brink of civil war in 2008 – despite appeals for restraint from Shiite and Sunni political leaders.
The attack on the funeral was one of the largest single terrorist assaults on civilians in Iraq in recent years. It happened shortly before sunset in the densely populated Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City in northeastern Baghdad.
Police said at least 72 people were killed and more than 120 were wounded in that attack. One bomber was able to drive up near the tent before detonating his deadly payload, and another on foot blew himself up nearby, police said.
The explosions set the tents and several nearby cars on fire, sending a towering plume of thick black smoke over the city. Civilian pickup trucks loaded with casualties and ambulances with sirens blaring were seen racing from the scene.
Hussein Abdul-Khaliq, a government employee who lives near the bomb site, said the tents were packed with mourners when the blasts went off.
He described seeing several lifeless bodies on the ground, and wounded women and children. The clothes of several victims were soaked with blood, and firefighters had to leave the scene to refill tanker trucks with water as they struggled to contain an immense blaze, he said.
This funeral was not a military post or a ministry building, yet it was still targeted, Abdul-Khaliq said. This shows that no place and no one is safe in Iraq.