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Death toll in Iraq stadium bombing climbs to 41 Open in fullscreen

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Death toll in Iraq stadium bombing climbs to 41

IS has lost ground in recent months in Iraq and Syria [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 26 March, 2016

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At least 41 people were killed and over 100 others injured in Baghdad on Friday when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd after a local football game.

Iraqi officials say the death toll from a suicide bombing at a football stadium that was claimed by the Islamic State group (IS) has climbed to 41, many of them children, with another 105 people wounded.

The security and public health officials provided the updated toll on Saturday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief reporters.

The bombing took place on Friday during a match in the small stadium in the city of Iskanderiyah, 50 kilometers from the capital, Baghdad.

The attacker, who himself looks like a teenager on a photo distributed by IS that claimed the attack, cut through the crowd when trophies were being presented.

A video posted on social media shows a local official speaking in front of a table covered with trophies and calling out the name of a player before a huge blast.

"The suicide bomber cut through the crowd to approach the centre of the gathering and blew himself up as the mayor was presenting awards to the players," Ali Nashmi, an 18-year-old eyewitness, told AFP.

The mayor, Ahmed Shaker, was among the dead, as was one of his bodyguards and at least five members of the security forces.

The extremist group has lost ground in recent months in Iraq and Syria, but has struck back with a series of large attacks targeting civilians. IS claimed this week's attacks in Brussels, which killed 31 people.

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