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ISIS Suicide Bomber in Iraq Kills Dozens at Soccer Game

A suicide bomber detonated his explosive belt at a soccer game in a town south of Baghdad on Friday, killing at least 31 people, including the town's mayor, provincial police officials said.

Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the attack, in the town of Iskandariya in Babil Province, through the group's affiliated news agency, Al Amaq. The Islamic State group controls large areas of territory in northern and western Iraq, as well as parts of Syria.

The attack, which also wounded at least 71 people, struck a large crowd gathered for a game between local teams sponsored by Asaib Ahl al-Haq, a powerful Shiite militia that has ties to Iran and has been at the forefront of fighting against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

The game had just ended and a trophy was being presented to the winning team when the bomber detonated the explosives while in the crowd, the police said.

Sheik Jawad, the head of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq office in Babil Province, said that at least five top members of the militia had been wounded. "The attack was carried out to destabilize the confidence between the people and Asaib, and to take revenge against us after our victories," he said.

Raed al-Zaidi, a 36-year-old journalist, said his cousin was among those killed in the bombing. "My cousin was a soccer player, and he wanted to win the final match but his dream was uncompleted," Mr. Zaidi said.

The Islamic State also claimed responsibility this month for a suicide bombing farther south in Hilla that killed at least 33 people and wounded 115. In a Twitter post at the time, the extremist group said, "The battle has just started and the coming will be worst."

On Thursday, the Iraqi military said it had recaptured several villages in the northern province of Nineveh, backed by American airstrikes, as it gears up for a campaign to retake Mosul from ISIS militants.

[Source: By Omar Al-Jawoshy, The New York Times, Baghdad, 25Mar16]

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small logoThis document has been published on 29Mar16 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.