‘She went to get ice cream and never came back’: Australia reaffirms commitment to IS fight after girl, 12, dies in Baghdad blast
Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the attack outside an ice cream shop on Monday
Australia’s foreign minister has reiterated why the country is fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq after a car bomb killed 17 people including one Australian girl in Baghdad on Monday.
Zynab Al-Harbiya, 12, from Melbourne, was visiting her sick grandfather in the capital with her family when she was killed in the attack outside a popular ice cream shop, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said.
Islamic State (IS) militants claimed responsibility for the bombing, which Iraqi officials said involved remotely detonated explosives inside a parked car.
“This tragedy underscores the brutality of this terrorist organisation,” Bishop said.
“It shows no respect for religion, nationality, sovereignty, borders, no respect for humanity.
“This is why the Australian government has continued to commit our defence personnel to support the Iraqi security forces, so that they can fight to defeat this terrorist organisation within Iraq and to prevent its spread to other parts of the world including in our region,” she added.
The girl’s cousin, Layla Al-Saabary, told Australian media that Zynab’s mother and uncles were also among the dozens injured.
“She wanted to go and buy ice cream, so she insisted. Her mother gave permission and so they went to the main square and she was going to go buy ice cream and she went and she never came back,” Al-Saabary said.
She added that the family had only been in Baghdad for a few days when the tragedy struck and and that Zynab had been “scared of the bombs”.
Australia is one of the biggest contributors to the US-led military campaign against IS militants in Iraq and Syria, with 780 military personnel in the Middle East, as well as aircraft including six jet fighters.
Ramadan began late last week. The holy month is often marked by an increase in violence in Iraq.
Last year, a huge truck bombing claimed by IS killed hundreds in a retail district in central Baghdad where people were shopping for clothes ahead of the holiday at the end of Ramadan. It was the single deadliest event in Baghdad since Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003.