Minister resigns as death toll reaches 175
Iraqi's interior minister the man largely responsible for security in Baghdad submitted his resignation yesterday, two days after a massive bombing in the centre of the capital killed 175 people and wounded almost 200.
Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban told reporters that the government had failed to get the various bodies charged with securing the capital to operate according to a "unified plan". The army, federal and local police, and government-sanctioned Shiite militias share security responsibility, manning checkpoints throughout the city.
He said the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the police, should have full responsibility for security inside Iraq's cities. He said he had submitted proposed reforms in 2015, but they were shelved by the government.
ONE OF THE WORST
The attack, claimed by the Islamic State group, was one of the worst in more than a decade of war and insurgency in Iraq. Bodies were still being recovered, and police and health officials said at least a dozen people remain unaccounted for.
The government has come under heavy criticism for its failure to provide security in Baghdad, and al-Abadi was chased away from the bomb site hours after the attack by a crowd that hurled shoes and rocks, calling him a "thief".
The attack early Sunday in the Karada neighbourhood came as the streets were crowded with shoppers preparing for the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is expected to fall today.
Yesterday, Karada residents held a funeral procession for a young man at the scene of the blast. His mother, with an Iraqi flag draped over her shoulder, led the crowd of mourners as they carried his wooden casket and pounded their chests in grief.