According to Al Jazeera, at least 131 people, including many children, have been killed and hundreds wounded in a car bombing in a crowded commercial area in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad.
The powerful explosion early on Sunday came when the streets were filled with young people and families out after sunset, enjoying eating and meeting together at the end of the day’s Ramadan fast.
Sources said around 200 people were wounded when a lorry packed with explosives was blown up in a busy shopping street in Karada, a predominantly Shia neighbourhood in central Baghdad.
ISIL immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement circulated by its supporters online. The group, which has claimed numerous deadly bombings in mainly Shia areas of Baghdad, alleged that a suicide bomber targeted a crowd of Shia Muslims.
Many of the victims were women and children who were inside a multi-storey shopping and amusement mall. Dozens burned to death or suffocated, and there were fears the death toll could rise as more bodies could be lying under the rubble of devastated buildings.
The Kadara bombing was the deadliest in the country so far this year and comes after Iraqi forces dislodged ISIL fighters from Fallujah late last month. Fallujah was the armed group’s stronghold, just west of the capital, that had previously served as a launch pad for such attacks.
- Pray for Iraq as it continues to struggle with sectarian fighting and a power struggle between Sunni and Shia communities. Pray for peace, understanding and reconciliation between these rival groups.
- Pray for those caught up in this latest bombing. Pray for comfort for those who mourn, for healing for the injured and for and end to this needless violence.
- Pray for the Iraqi government as it seeks to protect its people, especially from ISIL attacks. Pray for wisdom as they govern, and for fair and just government for all in Iraq.
- Pray that many across Iraq will encounter Jesus Christ through this time of Ramadan, through dreams, visions and the witness and love of Iraqi Christians. Pray that man hearts will turn to Christ and come to know Him, His life, grace and love.
Isaiah 61, 1 – 3: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor … to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”