ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – A suicide bomber detonated himself on Saturday in a Shia Muslim gathering in Baghdad, killing at least 41 people, and injuring 33, police and medical sources said.
According to the sources, the explosion occurred inside a tent filled with people participating in Shia rituals of Ashura, the mourning of Hussein’s killing, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, in the seventh century.
The tent was set up in a crowded market, located in the district of al-Shaab, northern Baghdad. Police from the area said some people were in the tent to mourn the death of a resident in the district.
Following the explosion, ambulances rushed to the scene and transferred the wounded people to the nearby hospitals.
After a few hours, the Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack in an online statement.
The explosion comes at a time where Iraqi and Peshmerga forces are preparing to launch a military operation to retake Mosul, the second-largest city that remains under the control of the jihadist group since June 2014.
IS emerged in northern Iraq in 2014. The group expanded to Nineveh, Diyala, Salahaddin, and Anbar provinces.
Since then, the group has lost over 60 percent territory it once held, and the militants have reportedly lost the morale of fighting.
Many of the IS attacks have targeted Baghdad. It has been one of the most affected provinces by the insurgents in the past few months.
IS claimed a truck bombing in July that killed over 324 people in the shopping area of Karrada, located in the heart of Baghdad.
The massacre has been marked as the deadliest attack in the country since the removal of the dictatorship in Iraq in 2003.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany