Dozens more victims have succumbed to their injuries
Attack was claimed by ISIS, in part of a wave of terror attacks launched during Ramadan
The death toll from a devastating ISIS truck bomb in Baghdad has risen to 292 after dozens more of the wounded succumbed to their injuries, Iraqi officials said Thursday.
A further 200 people were injured in the attack, according to Ahmed Al-Redaini, spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Health.
Among the injured are dozens of burn victims who are being transferred outside the country for treatment, said Mohammad al-Rubaee, deputy head of the security committee for Baghdad province.
A statement from the country’s health ministry said DNA testing was being carried out to help identify the remains of 177 victims, so they could be returned to their families. The bodies of 115 victims have been returned to their loved ones so far, the statement said.
The immense blast in Baghdad’s bustling Karrada neighborhood, a predominantly Shia district, in the early hours of Sunday was the worst attack to strike the Iraqi capital in years.
The bomb-laden truck plowed into a building housing a coffee shop and stores shortly after midnight, when the surrounding streets were packed with people who had been gathering after breaking their Ramadan fasts.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
The fallout from the attack has included the resignation of Iraq’s interior minister, Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban, who stepped aside Tuesday citing a lack of “coordination among security systems” as the reason for his departure.
In an embarrassing admission, the government has also had to order security personnel to stop using bogus bomb detectors that, for years, have been widely known to be useless.
Iraqi officials say they executed five ISIS members in the wake of the attack.
Analysts say this demonstration of the terror group’s capacity to strike in the heart of the capital may force a delay of the long-awaited government push to retake the northern metropolis of Mosul, the largest city under ISIS control.
The Sunni terror group, which has carved out a self-declared caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria, has been losing territory, most recently in the Iraqi city of Falluja.
The government had assured people that driving ISIS from Falluja – about 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of Baghdad – and the rest of Anbar province would bring greater security to the capital, but that hasn’t been the case, according to retired Lt. Col. Rick Francona, a CNN military analyst.
Iraqi officials said in the wake of the attack that the truck bomb had in fact come from Diyala province, to the east of the city.
ISIS had called for its supporters to strike during the Muslim holy month, resulting in a string of deadly attacks linked to the terror group around the world, from the United States to Turkey, Bangladesh and France.
CNN’s Ben Wedeman and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.