Middle East

Baghdad bomb attack: Victims and their stories

Women weep at the site of a suicide bombing in Baghdad's Karrada district (4 July 2016) Image copyright AFP
Image caption Sunday's attack was the deadliest single bombing in Iraq since 2007

At least 165 people were killed shortly after midnight on Sunday when a suicide bomber blew up an explosives-laden lorry in the centre of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, security sources say.

The jihadist group Islamic State (IS) has said it was behind the attack, which targeted a crowded shopping centre in the Karrada district, where people were enjoying a night out after breaking their daily fast for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Among those identified on social media as a victim was Adel al-Jaf, a young dancer also known as Adel Euro. The New York-based choreographer Jonathan Hollander told the BBC that the world had lost "an extraordinary, talented, creative artist".

Over the past two years, Mr Hollander and his Battery Dance company had mentored Jaf online. "Though he said he was a hip-hop and break-dancer, he said he really wanted to expand his repertoire," Mr Hollander said. "He wanted to learn from us and learn about contemporary dance and do ballet."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The bomber targeted a crowded shopping centre in the central Karrada district

Battery Dance said Jaf had "spread his love for dance to others in Baghdad, starting a dance academy, and providing a creative outlet for other artists at-risk". He had just completed his law degree and planned to come to the US to continue his dance studies, the company added.

Zulfikar Oraibi, the son of former Iraqi footballer Ghanim Oraibi who played in the 1986 World Cup, was also reportedly killed in the bombing. The Alghad Press news website published a photo it said showed Ghanim sitting next to Zulfikar's grave.

Another young man, named Issa al-Obaidi, had been buying clothes for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, when he was caught up in the blast, according to a post on his Facebook page.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Victims' families put up posters with details of their funerals at the site of the bombing on Monday

The owner of a shop close to where the bomb went off told the New York Times he had asked two friends who owned clothing stores near his, Saif and Abdullah, to watch his business on Saturday night and that they had been killed. "I could not recognise their bodies," Abdul Kareem Hadi said. "[IS] says: 'We kill Shia,' but I lost my dearest friends to me in this explosion, and they were Sunnis."

Adnan Abu Altman was another victim identified on social media. He had graduated from law school at Al-Mansour University College only days before the bombing. He was in Karrada with his father Safaa, who was reportedly also killed, and his brother Ali, who is missing, according to the New Arab website.

Photographs of two families believed to have been killed in the attack were also posted online. Raqia Hassan, her brother Hadi and their father Hassan Ali were said to have been buying clothes at the time of the attack, while Amr Mustanik was reportedly in the area with his wife and daughter.

Many people also posted photos and video of what some described as the "zaffa (wedding procession) of a martyr". They showed men carrying a coffin, draped in an Iraqi flag, down a street in Karrada, led by drummers. The name of the victim was not given.