Nine killed, 20 hurt as gas tanker explodes in Baghdad
Nine people were killed and more than 20 wounded in an explosion in east Baghdad on Saturday, according to security and medical sources.
The explosion took place in a garage near a football stadium and a cafe, when an explosive device attached to a vehicle detonated, leading to another explosion of a gas tanker that was close by, the security sources said.
The explosion, which was heard across much of Baghdad, happened near a football field in an eastern part of the city on Saturday night and sent shrapnel into residential buildings and into the pitch.
“Nine civilians were killed and 20 injured” when the tanker exploded, the commander of security forces in Baghdad, Ahmad Salim, said in a statement.
“The explosion is an accident and not an act of terrorism,” he added.
Most of the victims were amateurs playing football in their neighborhood stadium, the Reuters news agency reported.
An AFP correspondent said the windows of nearby buildings were blown out and vehicles in the area were damaged.
“We were at home and felt a very strong blast and a smell of gas,” resident Mohammed Aziz, who lives just 100 meters (330 feet) from the blast site, told AFP.
“It felt like we were suffocating,” he added. “Our doors and windows were blown out.”
Iraq’s recently-elected president Abdul Latif Rashid promised there would be an investigation to identify those responsible for the accident.
Safety standards in the transport and construction sector are frequently flouted in Iraq, and accidents are a common occurrence.
In April 2021, more than 80 people died in a hospital fire in Baghdad, after badly stored oxygen bottles exploded.