Bab Al-Sharqi

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Bab Al-Sharqi is a neighborhood of central Baghdad, Iraq. The area surrounding Bab Al-Sharqi market is a stronghold of the Mahdi Army, the main Shia militia in central Iraq.[citation needed]

January 2007 bombings[edit]

The neighborhood was affected by the 22 January 2007 Baghdad bombings when two powerful car bombs ripped through Bab Al-Sharqi Market, killing at least 88 people and wounding 160 others in one of the bloodiest days since the US invasion of Iraq. The attack occurred two days after the start of the 10-day Shiite festival leading up to Ashoura.

The blasts at the Baghdad market were aimed at a Shiite area and seemed timed to inflict maximum damage, occurring at noon local time, which is one of the busiest times of the day. Police officials said the blasts were so large that each of the cars carried more than 200 pounds of explosives. The explosions could be heard from the eastern banks of the nearby Tigris River. In the aftermath, the large number of bodies required workers to stack them on top of one another in wooden carts, while other victims were simply blown to pieces. Fires from the explosion engulfed at least a dozen cars, creating clouds of smoke large enough that they drifted over the Green Zone, about half a mile away.

In the past, such attacks by Sunni Arab insurgents have been met by swift reprisals, a cycle of violence that left some 34,000 Iraqis dead last year directly because of the attacks and many more lives lost indirectly. The bombings, directed specifically at civilians, seemed intended to elicit a reprisal, much like the 23 November 2006 Sadr City bombings that killed at least 215 people. A suicide bomber had killed at least 63 people in the same area a month earlier.