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Iraq's interior minister offers resignation after deadly terrorist attack

Sabah Arar, AFP | Relatives of victims react as they stand on July 5, 2016, at the site of a suicide-bombing attack that took place two days earlier in the Karrada neighborhood of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Iraq’s interior minister offered to resign on Tuesday, days after the deadliest bombing attack in Baghdad since the 2003 invasion.

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"I placed my resignation before the prime minister," Iraqi Interior Minister Mohammed Ghabban told a press conference, before adding that a deputy would take over his responsibilities.

The suicide bombing struck the Karrada district in the capital early Sunday, as the area was packed with shoppers ahead of the holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

Some 250 people were killed in the blast, according to an updated death toll released by Iraq's Health Ministry on Tuesday.

Ghabban said the car carrying the bomb likely successfully passed through a security checkpoint on the way to Karrada.

Ghabban said the checkpoints, which are throughout the capital and a major pillar of government security efforts, "are absolutely useless".

The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack, and said an Iraqi suicide bomber carried it out.

Baghdad bombing: 'This is ISIS against all Iraqis'


Killing to kill

Iraq’s ambassador to France, Fareed Yasseen, told FRANCE 24 that the terrorist attack did not make sense in terms of the group’s political goals.

“This is ISIS against all Iraqis. Look at the numbers, many Sunnis were killed [the Islamic State group are radical Sunni group] in this event (…) They’re killing to kill, not to make material gains on the ground, or to gain political advantage,” said Yasseen.

“I can tell you the prime minister feels this, because it is his neighborhood,” added Yasseen to FRANCE 24.

The attack has sparked outrage and anger among Iraqis, who accuse the government of not doing enough to protect them.

Apparently seeking to shore up its image, the government on Monday announced the arrest of 40 jihadists and the execution of five convicts, while Ghabban's resignation announcement also seems aimed at assuaging Iraqi anger.

IS group overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but has since lost significant ground to Iraqi forces, most recently in Fallujah, a city west of Baghdad that was retaken at the end of last month.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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