Baghdad, Jan 27: A suicide bomber set off an explosives-packed car outside a Baghdad hospital today, killing 31 people in the capital's deadliest day in a month, amid a political crisis that has stoked tensions.
The attack in a predominantly Shiite neighbourhood, which also left 60 people wounded, came days after Al-Qaeda warned it would continue targeting Shiite Muslims and barely a month after US troops completed their withdrawal, raising fresh concerns about the capabilities of domestic security forces.
The 11:00 am (1330 IST) attack struck outside Zafraniyah hospital in east Baghdad as a funeral procession was transporting the bodies of a family who had been killed in the capital yesterday.
Medical and security officials put the toll at at least 31 dead and 60 wounded. Eight security force officers and four women were among those killed.
Helicopters flew overhead as a heavy security presence cordoned off the site of the explosion, while distraught witnesses screamed in anguish, surrounded by the remains of the dead, their clothes and shoes, and chunks of twisted metal.
Outside the hospital, groups of men called out names, searching for missing relatives.
Inside, people crowded around medics to ask about their loved ones, but one nurse said simply: “I cannot tell you anything—there are only arms and legs, we do not know who they belong to.”
Abu Jassim, who was outside the hospital when the bomber struck laid the blame for the attack with the security forces, telling AFP: “They are responsible for this, there were a large number of policemen and they did not stop the car or check it”.