A car bomb was set off in a busy market place in a small Iraqi town on Friday, killing more than 100 people and injuring at least 130, officials said.
The bomb ignited in the Shiite town of Khan Bani Saad, roughly 12 miles north of Baghdad, as people gathered to celebrate the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
ISIS militants, who have taken over swathes of Iraq in the past year, claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter, saying one of their members drove into the crowded square carrying three tons of explosives.
"Some people were using vegetable boxes to collect children's body parts," police major Ahmed al-Tamimi told Reuters. The official said the damage to the market was "devastating."
According to the BBC, which put the death toll at 120, the attack was one of the deadliest to take place in Iraq in a decade.
The explosion brought down several structures and killed predominantly Shiite adults and children who were celebrating the Muslim feast that ends the fasting month of Ramadan. For Sunnis, the celebration occurred the day before.
A riot erupted after the explosion, as grieving crowds rushed the remains of the marketplace, smashing the windows of cars parked in the street.
Some bodies and limbs were flung onto the roofs of nearby buildings by the force of the blast, police told Reuters.
The Diyala provincial government ordered all parks and public recreation places to close for the rest of the Eid al-Fitr holiday in case of any further attacks, Reuters reported. The government also ordered three public days of mourning.
Salim Al Jabouri, Iraq’s speaker of parliament, said in an announcement Saturday that the bombing struck an “ugly sectarian chord."
The Iraqi government is making “attempts to regulate Daesh’s terror from destabilizing Diyala security,” he added, using ISIS' Arabic acronym.
The presence of security forces increased greatly in the area following the attack, Khaleej Times reported. Dozens of checkpoints have been set up across the region, while authorities continue to search for bodies.
“This horrible carnage is truly outside all boundaries of civilized behavior,” UN representative for the special mission in Iraq Jan Kubis told the Khaleej Times.
The United Nations said in a statement earlier this week that nearly 15,000 people had been killed by IS militants in Iraq in roughly the past year.
U.S. National Security Council Spokesperson Ned Price released a statement Saturday afternoon condemning the "abhorrent" attacks.
The United States strongly condemns yesterday’s abhorrent ISIL attack in Diyala Province which purposefully and viciously targeted Iraqi civilians celebrating the Eid ul-Fitr holiday to mark the conclusion of the holy month of Ramadan.
This latest attack is yet another painful example of the atrocities that the terrorist group ISIL continues to perpetrate against the people of Iraq.
The United States remains steadfast in its commitment to work with Prime Minister Al-Abadi and our partners in Iraq and the international community to bring an end to ISIL’s depravity.
On behalf of the brave people of Diyala Province and all those Iraqis persecuted by ISIL, the United States will continue to support the Government of Iraq and its security forces to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist organization.
Ema O'Connor is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Ema O'Connor at email@example.com.
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