Bombs mar Iraq's soccer party


Summary

Two suicide bombs which killed at least 50 people have marred Iraqi football fans' celebrations of their team's historic Asian Cup win.

南宁桑拿

Jubilant supporters took to the streets of Baghdad on Wednesday night to mark the national side's semi-final victory over South Korea, proudly waving flags, dancing and shouting.

But as they partied – enjoying a rare moment of unity in a country normally split along bitter Sunni-Shi'ite lines – and looking forward to an all-Arab Asian Cup Final against Saudi Arabia, the bombers struck.

Police said 30 people died and 75 were injured, some seriously, when a suicide car bomb detonated alongside a crowd of people celebrating at an ice cream parlour in the city's Mansour area.

Minutes later another bomb exploded at an army checkpoint at Ghadeer in eastern Baghdad, killing 20 and leaving a further 60 hurt. Many of the victims were soccer fans who had been enjoying themselves nearby.

All-Arab final

In areas of the country untouched by the bombings, a festive atmosphere persisted, with shops handing out free sweets, and some families sacrificing sheep.

"I am nearly crying for joy," said Nuri al-Najjar, 30, from Basra. "Iraq's victory with this harmonious team represents the way we should all live together."

Elsewhere, one person was killed and another 17 injured by falling bullets fired into the air to mark the Iraqi team's victory.

State television had earlier broadcast a warning to fans not to engage in celebratory gunfire, after three people died on Saturday following Iraq's quarter-final win over Vietnam.

Iraq secured their place in the tournament decider with a dramatic 4-3 penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw against South Korea.

Saudi Arabia defeated favourites Japan to make Sunday’s Asian Cup Final in Jakarta, Indonesia, an all-Arab affair.


Two suicide bombs which killed at least 50 people have marred Iraqi football fans' celebrations of their team's historic Asian Cup win.

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Jubilant supporters took to the streets of Baghdad on Wednesday night to mark the national side's semi-final victory over South Korea, proudly waving flags, dancing and shouting.

But as they partied – enjoying a rare moment of unity in a country normally split along bitter Sunni-Shi'ite lines – and looking forward to an all-Arab Asian Cup Final against Saudi Arabia, the bombers struck.

Police said 30 people died and 75 were injured, some seriously, when a suicide car bomb detonated alongside a crowd of people celebrating at an ice cream parlour in the city's Mansour area.

Minutes later another bomb exploded at an army checkpoint at Ghadeer in eastern Baghdad, killing 20 and leaving a further 60 hurt. Many of the victims were soccer fans who had been enjoying themselves nearby.

All-Arab final

In areas of the country untouched by the bombings, a festive atmosphere persisted, with shops handing out free sweets, and some families sacrificing sheep.

"I am nearly crying for joy," said Nuri al-Najjar, 30, from Basra. "Iraq's victory with this harmonious team represents the way we should all live together."

Elsewhere, one person was killed and another 17 injured by falling bullets fired into the air to mark the Iraqi team's victory.

State television had earlier broadcast a warning to fans not to engage in celebratory gunfire, after three people died on Saturday following Iraq's quarter-final win over Vietnam.

Iraq secured their place in the tournament decider with a dramatic 4-3 penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw against South Korea.

Saudi Arabia defeated favourites Japan to make Sunday’s Asian Cup Final in Jakarta, Indonesia, an all-Arab affair.