37 People Killed after Bomb Blasts Hit Iraq Campaign Rally
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – At least 37 people were killed and several others were injured after a series of explosions rocked an election campaign rally in Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
The explosions struck as some 10,000 people gathered at the Industrial Stadium in eastern Baghdad for a rally of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq group. The Shiite group had planned to announce at the rally its candidates for Iraq's parliamentary election on Wednesday.
Police and medical officials said several of the wounded were in critical condition. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to release the information, Al Jazeera reported.
Followers of Asaib Ahl al-Haq carried out deadly attacks against US troops before their withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 and claimed responsibility for the 2007 kidnapping of a British contractor along with his four guards.
Its leader, Sheik Qais al-Khazali, spent years in US detention but was released after he was handed over to the Iraqi government.
Security guards jumped on Khazali and pushed him away from the stadium after the blasts.
The blasts highlight the violence that has plagued Iraq recently. The UN said 8,868 people were killed in 2013, and more than 1,400 people were killed in the first two months of this year alone.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, though an al-Qaeda spin-off group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant uses similar tactics.