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According to Iraqi police, at least 125 people have been killed and about 187 injured in an explosion claimed by the so-called Islamic State group in Baghdad. A car bomb exploded on a busy street in the Karrada district late on Saturday, July 2. The mainly Shia area was busy with shoppers late at night because it is the holy month of Ramadan.

Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi was met by angry crowds while visiting the scene today [Sunday, July 3]. He quickly declared three days of national mourning.

A second bomb also exploded at about midnight in a predominantly Shia area north of the capital, killing another five people. The bombing in Karrada is the deadliest in Iraq this year and comes a week after Iraqi security forces recaptured the city of Falluja from Islamic State (IS) militants.

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Police said the victims include at least 15 children and six policemen, and at least 12 other people are missing, most likely dead. One senior Iraqi official warned that the death toll could rise still further. The US said the latest attack strengthened its resolve to support Iraqi forces in their fight against IS.

“We remain united with the Iraqi people and government in our combined efforts to destroy Isil,” the White House statement said, using another term for the group.

The destruction and death indicates a clear message from the jihadists of the Islamic State. They are saying that even if they are defeated on the battlefield, they can still hit back where it really hurts by killing civilians in the centre of the Iraqi capital, and other capital cities, too.