The death toll from Sunday’s massive car-bomb attack in Iraq’s capital Baghdad now stands at 292, Iraqi Health Minister Adila Hamoud said Thursday.
According to Hamoud, another 200 people were injured by the blast, responsibility for which was claimed by the Daesh terrorist group.
Health Minister Adila Hamoud said late on Thursday that the bodies of 115 people killed in the bombing had now been handed over to families, while the identities of 177 others had yet to be determined.
The blast also wounded 200 people, said the minister, who on Tuesday told the AFP news agency that the process of identifying the dead – which she put at 150 at the time – was expected to take 15 to 45 days.
ISIS group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement circulated by its supporters online.
Police Major-General Talib Khalil Rahi said the suicide bomber on Sunday detonated a minibus loaded with plastic explosives and ammonium nitrate. Iraq
The initial blast killed a limited number of people, but flames spread and trapped people inside shopping centers that lacked emergency exits, Rahi told a news conference in Baghdad.
Many Iraqis blame their political leadership for lapses in security in Baghdad that have allowed large amounts of explosives to make their way past multiple checkpoints and into neighbourhoods packed with civilians.
“All the politicians in Iraq are responsible for these blasts, including Abadi,” a woman in Karada told local media.
“We can’t enjoy the Eid; if it isn’t ISIS, it’s al-Qaeda, and if it isn’t the two, it’s the filthy corrupt politics in this country.
“We are being targeted while they are sitting safe and sound in their palaces. They are the ones who are allowing ISIS to come here and murder people.”
Interior Minister Mohammed Ghabban resigned after the attack, and authorities also announced the execution of five convicts and the arrest of 40 fighters in an apparent effort to limit the fallout.
Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi declared three days of mourning in the wake of the attack, which occurred in Baghdad’s central Al-Karada district before dawn on Sunday.
The bombing was swiftly claimed by ISIS, which in 2014 overran vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq.
Visiting the blast site in the wake of the attack, al-Abadi attributed the deadly bombing to the terrorist group’s recent territorial losses.
“The terrorists carried out this bombing… after being crushed at the battle of Fallujah,” he said.