Baghdad death toll rises to 250

Baghdad death toll rises to 250
Video: The number of people killed in Sunday's catastrophic car bombing in Baghdad has risen to 250, the government said Tuesday, as the interior minister handed his resignation.
2 min read
06 July, 2016

Iraq 250 dead

The death toll of Sunday's deadly bomb attack on the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has risen to 250, the Iraqi government said Tuesday.

A lorry packed with explosives was detonated in the busy Karrada district while families were preparing for the Eid holiday, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

The Islamic State group (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Iraqi Health Minister Adila Hamoud said that of the 250 people killed in the bombing, DNA testing would be required to identify more than half.

She said 150 bodies "required DNA testing and matching with the families of the victims" because they had been burned by the fire that followed the blast.

Hamoud did not specify how many had been identified so far, but said the process was expected to take between 15 to 45 days.

The blast had set neighbouring buildings, including two busy shopping centres ablaze with scores of people trapped inside.

Also on Tuesday, the country's interior minister submitted his resignation as authorities sought to contain tension from a deadly bombing.

Mohammed Ghabban announced his move at a news conference, though the resignation request must be approved by the prime minister.

Ghabban said the explosives-rigged lorrey came from Diyala province north of Baghdad, noting it likely avoided detection from security checkpoints surrounding the capital.

The checkpoints are "absolutely useless," he said, as angry civilians continued to accuse the government of doing little to prevent such attacks.

However, the minister fell short of accepting responsibility for the bombings, laying the blame on Iraq's flawed security systems.

On Monday, five convicted terrorists were executed and 40 suspected militants were arrested as Baghdad attempted to boost its image in the wake of the attacks.

On Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered changes to Baghdad’s security measures, including withdrawing fake bomb detectors from use, in response to the deadly attack.

Abadi also directed that the interior ministry to speed up the deployment of the "Rapiscan device for searching vehicles" at all entrances to Baghdad - an apparent reference to truck-based scanners from Rapiscan Systems.

Other measures include stepping up aerial reconnaissance and intelligence efforts, increasing coordination among security forces and reorganising checkpoints in the capital.