17 Children Killed in Suicide Bombing at Soccer Tournament

At least 32 people total were killed during awards ceremony
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2016 11:19 AM CDT
17 Children Killed in Suicide Bombing at Soccer Tournament
People inspect the aftermath of a suicide bombing at a soccer field in Iraq.   (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

At least 32 people were killed—more than half of them boys between the ages of 10 and 16—when a suicide bomber blew himself up at an amateur soccer tournament Friday in Iraq, AFP reports. Officials were handing out trophies to players following the tournament outside the town of Iskandariya when the bomber, who himself appeared to be in his teens, pushed through the crowd and detonated a suicide vest. According to Al Jazeera, the explosion injured 95 people. In the aftermath of the explosion, goal posts and a soccer ball could be seen covered with blood. "Most of the crowd were young people, I could see them strewn across the field, some dead, others wounded asking for help," a 20-year-old witness says. "It was just chaos."

The victims of the bombing, which the Telegraph has video of, were buried Saturday as words of support and condemnation poured in from around the world. "Football is a powerful force for good and our game has a long history of bringing people together even during conflicts around the world," the Asian Football Confederation said in a statement. "Using football and sport stadiums as a stage for these heinous acts of violence is a cowardly, completely unjust, and indiscriminate act." ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. The terrorist organization has been losing ground in Iraq for a year, and experts warn it will step up suicide attacks on civilians as it gets desperate. (More suicide bombing stories.)

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