6th annual Goal MTL charity soccer tournament raises $40,000

MONTREAL —; The annual Goal MTL soccer tournament took place at McGill’s Percival Molson Stadium on Sunday. The charity event brought together 25 teams representing some of the city’s biggest bars and restaurants, as well as a couple of businesses.

Since its beginnings in 2011, the soccer tournament has raised $200,000 for local charities that run youth-oriented programs —; around $40,000 this year alone.

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“This is our fourth year we’ve been doing it,” said Jackie Easey of Vigilant Global. “Montreal Community Cares and Tyndale St-Georges are super close to our hearts, and we like helping out those in our backyard.”

On Sunday, teams took to the fields once again to battle it out for a good cause.

“We just opened, and we wanted to make sure that we were participating right away with this great event,” said Massimo Lecas, co-owner of Fiorellino Snack Bar which opened earlier this year.

The charitable tournament is the brainchild of the owners of a local pub.

“When we opened 8 years ago, it’s all about soccer,” said Paul Desbaillets, co-owner of the Burgundy Lion Pub and organizer of the Goal MTL event. “We wanted to do a charity-driven event that would fit with what we do.”

For the past 6 years, the money raised has gone to the Tyndale St-Georges Community Center in Little Burgundy.

“There is nothing better and more important than giving back to the community,” said Desbaillets.

For the first time last year, funds allowed Goal MTL to add another recipient to its roster, Montreal Community Cares, which looks to empower at-risk youth.

“It’s basically trying to help us to become young men and leaders in the community, trying to help us bring us together, trying to build team sportsmanship and stuff like that,” said Jamall Fischer who is one of the organization’s participants.

Montreal Community Cares told Global News that the money raised through the tournament has allowed it to reach its goals.

“What it does is it helps our leadership program and it gives the kids an opportunity to experience different things,” said Denburk Reid, the founder of the organization. “So we get a chance to travel, and to play basketball, and to do leadership workshops at the same time.”

This is the first year that the Goal MTL tournament coincides with a major international soccer event, so organizers invited Icelandic team supporters to come out, watch the game on the big screen and show their love for soccer.

READ MORE: Euro Cup 2016: Meet Iceland’s co-coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, a part-time dentist

“I’m really excited,” said 11-year-old Rakel Davidsdottir whose family moved to Montreal from Iceland two years ago. “I mean my family is obsessed with soccer and when we lived in Iceland we used to go to so many games, and I’m really excited that Iceland has made it this far.”

Despite the island-nation’s loss to France in Sunday’s Euro Cup quarter-final, spirits ran high throughout the afternoon.

Desbaillets hopes the event will continue growing so that Goal MTL can continue helping youth in need.

Proposed pit bull legislation in Boucherville stirs controversy

BOUCHERVILLE – Yet another municipality is putting pit bulls in the crosshairs.

This time it’s Boucherville and that is not going over well with dog lovers of all breeds.

Dog trainers and educators like Stéphane Fiset mobilized to denounce the city’s proposal to ban pit bulls from dog parks and force them to be muzzled in public.

“This is a peaceful protest we will be taking a 2.2 km walk around to show that dogs are not dangerous when they are properly educated,” said Fiset.

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    READ MORE: Brossard banning pit bulls in response to attack on 8-year-old girl

    Protest organizers feel that the city is missing an opportunity to get at the heart of the matter.

    “One of the solutions that has been proposed would be a permit to own a dog, that would require you to pass a couple hours of classes,” said Fiset. “[Classes] could remove almost all of the problems because people would be able to read their dogs to know when the dog is uncomfortable.”

    Local veterinarian Véronique Morency is marching to prevent legislation against pit bulls.

    She also has a pit bull type dog.

    Since the incident on June 9 in Montreal where a woman was fatally mauled by a pit bull it’s been difficult to be seen in public with her dog Debbie.

    “Every time I go walk my dog everybody thinks it’s a pit bull, people are saying to me that I should kill my dog,” said Morency. “[They say] I have no right to be on the street with my dog, that my dog is dangerous. [But] they don’t even know her.”

    READ MORE: Pit bull guardian concerned about looming legislation

    The Montreal incident left Lee Frappier, a pit bull type guardian, distraught but she feels the focus should not be on the dog alone.

    “I don’t think it’s the breed, I really think it’s the relationship we have around dogs, the owner’s responsibility has a major role to play in that,” said Frappier.

    Morency believes judging a dog by its breed is pointless but she understands why people who have been bitten by pit bulls are afraid of them.

    “I have been bitten by a German Shepherd and every time I see a German Shepherd I’m a bit scared but you have to take the time to see if the dog is a good dog or not, it’s not because you have been bitten by one race that all the race is bad.”

    Before Boucherville implements new laws Lee Frappier hopes they’ll notice their plea.

    “Listen to us and listen to dog owners that do have good dogs and do want to take care of them properly.”

    Boucherville council is expected to make a decision on how to deal with what has become a pit bull problem in the province by July 5.

Parts of Saskatchewan under severe thunderstorm watch

UPDATE: All watches and warnings mentioned in this story have ended

Many parts of Saskatchewan, including Saskatoon and Regina, are under a severe thunderstorm watch Sunday afternoon.

Environment Canada officials say a low pressure system is tracking into the province from Alberta, with thunderstorms developing along the associated warm front ahead of the system.

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    READ MORE: Tornado touchdown likely west of Saskatoon on Canada Day

    Conditions are favourable for the development of dangerous thunderstorms capable of producing strong wind gusts, damaging hail and torrential rain.

    Follow @PQuinlanGlobal and @carlabosacki on 桑拿会所 or download the Global News Skytracker weather app for iPhone, iPad or Android for the latest conditions.

    Funnel clouds may also be observed as the storms develop.

    READ MORE: What to do when a tornado touches down in Saskatchewan

    Meteorologists tracked one storm at 1:19 p.m. south of Saskatoon between Shields and Blackstrap provincial park.

    They said local accumulations of between 50 and 80 millimetres of rain were likely.

    READ MORE: SaskAlert app will keep people in Saskatchewan informed of emergencies

    Another storm located between St. Walburg and Makwa Lake provincial park was also expected to dump between 50 and 80 mm of rain.

    The risk of severe weather is expected to diminish Sunday evening.

    Severe thunderstorm watch for:

    SaskatoonReginaLloydminsterMeadow Lake – Big River – Green Lake – PiercelandThe Battlefords – Unity – Maidstone – St. WalburgKindersley – Rosetown – Biggar – Wilkie – MacklinLeader – Gull LakeSwift Current – Herbert – Cabri – Kyle – Lucky LakeMartensville – Warman – Rosthern – Delisle – WakawOutlook – Watrous – Hanley – Imperial – DinsmoreMoose Jaw – Pense – Central Butte – CraikHumboldt – Wynyard – Wadena – Lanigan – Foam LakeFort Qu’Appelle – Indian Head – Lumsden – Pilot ButteEstevan – Weyburn – Radville – MilestoneMoosomin – Grenfell – Kipling – WawotaCarlyle – Oxbow – Carnduff – Bienfait – Stoughton

Indigenous politicians played key role in assisted dying debate

Despite the clamour from doctors, lawyers, religious groups and advocates for the disabled, the softer voices of indigenous parliamentarians were instrumental in shaping the Trudeau government’s cautious approach to medical assistance in dying.

Indigenous MPs and senators played a central role in securing passage of the new assisted dying law, bringing to the debate what they describe as a unique perspective on the sanctity of life.

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Their prominent role started at the top, with Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, a former regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations and lead minister on the assisted death file.

She was back-stopped in the Senate by former judge Murray Sinclair, who headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission inquiry into residential schools and was instrumental in persuading skeptical senators that the controversial new law was constitutional.

READ MORE: Assisted-dying in Canada: What you need to know about the new law

The first government backbencher to intervene on the issue in the ruling party’s caucus was Robert-Falcon Ouellette, one of nine indigenous Liberal MPs and, in the end, one of just a handful of Liberals to vote against the new law.

Theirs were voices Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would have been loath to ignore in any event, having repeatedly asserted that “no relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples.”

But their message was amplified by the fact that the assisted dying debate played out against the backdrop of a youth suicide crisis in Attiwapiskat and other First Nations communities.

Wilson-Raybould herself never directly linked the two. But she did repeatedly talk in general terms about the need to “prevent the normalization of suicide, protect vulnerable persons who are disproportionately at risk of inducement to suicide.”

The law grants only those who are near death the right to medical assistance to end their lives.

Watch below: Canadians weigh in on medically-assisted dying

In defending it before the Senate, Wilson-Raybould warned that expanding the eligibility criteria to include anyone who is suffering intolerably would “send the wrong message that society feels it is appropriate to address suffering in life by choosing death.”

“This message may encourage some who are in crisis and already considering suicide to act.”

Sinclair has no doubt that the aboriginal youth suicide crisis was in Wilson-Raybould’s mind.

“The important thing is that there’s no doubt that she has been influenced by her own teachings and her own cultural experiences in terms of how she approached it, as was I,” Sinclair said in an interview.

“As more and more young indigenous people seek out their culture and seek to understand how their culture can be relevant and valid for them today, it’s important to make connections to the current situation of things and show how our culture can help us through these things.”

Ouellette said he believes “indigenous people did have major influence” on the government’s approach to the issue. Although he voted against the law, he’s gratified that his views were reflected in the cautious approach taken by the government.

“Traditionally, in indigenous cultures, suicide never existed,” he said in an interview.

“If you live in nature and all of sudden you’re going around killing yourselves, committing suicide, your people won’t survive. You have to carry on, you have to move on, no matter all the bad things that happen in life.”

READ MORE: Health Minister Jane Philpott says Canada’s assisted-dying guidelines ‘insufficient’

Sinclair echoes that view.

“From the indigenous perspective, ending one’s own life was not encouraged, in fact it was discouraged and there are teachings in my community, Ojibwa teachings, around whether or not you will be able to travel to the spirit world in the proper way or a ceremony could be done for you if you make the decision to end your life without good reason.”

In the midst of debate in the Senate, some indigenous parliamentarians met with young people from Attiwapiskat. That prompted a number of senators — indigenous and non-indigenous alike — to question what message legalization of assisted dying was sending to those youths.

“It will not take much for a young, vulnerable person to believe that their situation is intolerable to them and, therefore, we need to ensure the message we send to the Canadian public with this legislation is that this is not a right that should be easily exercised or that we are embracing,” Sinclair told the Senate.

Not all indigenous parliamentarians shared that view, however.

Sen. Lillian Dyck argued that the aboriginal youth suicide epidemic is the result of dysfunctional communities still grappling with the after-effects of the residential school era, totally separate from the issue of allowing grievously ill people to end their lives with a doctor’s help.

Moreover, she said, repeatedly referring to indigenous youth as vulnerable “is a big mistake.”

“It is a mistake because you are telling them, ‘You’re vulnerable, you’re weak, we’re afraid for you.’ I think that’s an awful message to give to youth,” Dyck, who voted for more expansive eligibility to assisted dying, told the Senate.

READ MORE: Doctor-assisted death: The recommendations vs. reality

Thunder Bay MP Don Rusnak, chair of the Liberals’ newly formed indigenous caucus, said aboriginal communities in his riding also bristled when links were drawn between assisted dying and the youth suicide crisis. Indeed, he says for the most part his constituents objected that the law didn’t go far enough.

“There is not a pan-aboriginal or indigenous voice,” Rusnak said. “You can’t think of it as one homogeneous group. There’s different perspectives from different areas of the country, different languages, different cultural practices.”

Indeed, Rusnak said the reason for creating the indigenous caucus is to share those different perspectives and ensure that ministers take them into account when crafting public policy.

“We need to listen to the voices that for far too long in this country haven’t been heard,” he said.

On assisted dying at least, Sinclair believes that’s already happened.

“What I heard from some of my colleagues and others is that they saw it, they saw the connection and they saw how it fit into indigenous teachings and how indigenous teachings … could be applicable to this kind of situation.”

More importantly, for indigenous peoples, Sinclair said: “It validated the fact that our teachings are important and real and so it moves the whole conversation of reconciliation forward a great deal.”

Watch below: A woman who was meant to be able to die last month through the help of her doctor has now been told she can’t.

‘Guys feel guilty’: emotional demons to slay after Fort McMurray wildfire

The man who led the battle against the wildfire dubbed “The Beast” says many Fort McMurray firefighters are now wrestling a different set of demons.

Fire Chief Darby Allen says the emotional toll is hitting home for the crews who worked non-stop for days to beat back the ferocious wildfire that breached the northeastern Alberta city two months ago.

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    “They went through one of the most significant events that any firefighter could ever go through,” Allen said in a recent interview at Fire Hall No. 1 in downtown Fort McMurray.

    READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire: ‘We expect weeks, if not months, fighting this fire’

    Counselling services have been offered from the beginning, but Allen said it’s important that help is available for the long haul.

    The blaze was so tough to subdue that Allen has likened it to a wild animal.

    “It did seem to have a brain. It did seem to want to do things that we didn’t want it to do. And whatever plan that we came up with, it seemed to come up with its own plan and fight us at every level.”

    READ MORE: Image of firefighters resting after saving homes in Fort McMurray goes viral

    In the end, about 10 per cent of the town was destroyed, with the majority of the Abasand, Beacon Hill and Waterways neighbourhoods reduced to rubble.

    Now, one of the toughest emotions firefighters are battling is guilt, said Allen.

    “You can’t put all of the fire out and sometimes you have to give up an area to go on to another area,” he said.

    “Sometimes you have to make decisions where you’re going to lose certain properties to save other properties.”

    Many firefighters are beating themselves up because they feel like they could have done more. Some watched their own homes burn, but went back to work.

    “The reality is we couldn’t have done more,” said Allen. “My job has been to reassure them that they’ve done everything they could and I do truly believe that there were some incredible efforts to save as many properties as we did.”

    READ MORE: Fort McMurray firefighter forced to watch as fire consumes his own home

    In some cases, the call to pull firefighters out of some areas was a matter of life and death, Allen said.

    “There were some areas — Abasand, Beacon Hill — where we were fighting the fire in those areas for long periods of time and in the end we had to pull out of those areas because of the significance of the fire and the overwhelming nature of the fire,” he said.

    “We had to pull our resources out of there because they were literally not going to survive if they stayed there,” Allen said. “Guys feel guilty about that. They wanted to stay and they couldn’t stay.”

    Watch below: Aerial footage of the destruction in Abasand and Beacon Hill

    In the city generally, it’s a tough time emotionally for residents, said Mayor Melissa Blake.

    “You have a bit of a honeymoon period off the get-go and that’s because of that incredible support and human compassion that came through loud and clear from everywhere we were in Alberta or Canada or beyond,” she said in a recent interview.

    “The next stage, though, is that when you come back into your community and you see the loss and destruction, you go into the valley of death almost, where you just go down into the depths of despair, depression, insomnia.”

    IN PHOTOS: Fort McMurray residents return to destruction on Day 2 of re-entry

    Alberta Health Services did close to 13,000 counselling sessions between May 10 and June 28, said spokesman Kerry Williamson.

    “I know that at times the numbers were upwards of sort of 300 a day and then other days were a little bit quieter,” he said. “But it’s been consistent that we’ve seen relatively high numbers throughout.”

    Blake is expecting milestones and anniversaries to be fraught for residents, but eventually things won’t be so raw.

    “I just don’t know how long it’s going to take to come out the other side.”

Crews battle large fire in Burns Bog; BC Wildfire Service assisting

For the latest on the fire and road closures, check out our most recent story.


A fire in Burns Bog will take a week to be fully extinguished, predict officials in Delta.

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The blaze, which began just before noon, is between 55 and 70 hectares as of 9 p.m. on Sunday. It is located on the far west side of the bog in an unforested area between 76th and 80th Streets, and was billowing smoke that could be seen and smelt throughout Metro Vancouver.

The wind was blowing to the east for several hours, but then began blowing north towards Highway 17 around 3 p.m., crossing Highway 17 and significantly escalating the danger to property in Tilbury Industrial Park.

“I was feeling a little better about it earlier today, but when the wind shifted, it took a lot of us by surprise. We’re doing everything that is humanly possible to fight this,” said Delta Mayor Lois Jackson.

The section of Highway 17 from Highway 99 to Nordel Way/Highway 91 connector has been closed to the general public, and will remain closed overnight. River Road is also closed from 62b Street in Ladner to Nordel Way/Highway 91 connector.

Tilbury Industrial park has been evacuated, and the Fraser River was closed to watercraft until 10 p.m. on Sunday. A perimeter has been established and no structures are directly threatened, but several buildings and cranberry farms are close to the flames.

“Certainly everyone is concerned about their businesses, but at this point we don’t believe there’s any threat to them,” said Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord.

“We’re lucky it was the weekend, so the evacuation was fairly easy at this point in time.”

WATCH: Nadia Stewart reports on the various closures in the area

Fire Chief Dan Copeland says there are approximately 100 firefighters from Delta, Metro Vancouver, and BC Wildfire Service fighting the fire. Five air tankers and four helicopters are also assisting.

“It’s very dangerous with the wind direction and the wind shifts. We also have to be aware of soft surfaces and soft ground,” he said.

There is no word on what might have sparked the blaze.

Crews are battling a fire in Burns Bog.

Crews are battling a fire in Burns Bog.

The Burns Bog fire from the air.

Crews are battling a fire in Burns Bog.

A fire has broken out near Burns Bog.

Burns Bog is an important ecological zone in Metro Vancouver, and is the largest peat bog around a developed area on the west coast of North America.

Donna McPherson, fire information officer for the Coastal Fire Centre, said fighting a fire in a bog can prove to be challenging. In 2005, a fire in Burns Bog that was 200 hectares in size burned for three days, and took eight days to extinguish.

READ MORE: If history is any guide, Burns Bog fire could be active for days

“This can be a very difficult fire to put out in the long-term because of the peat,” she said.

“[In 2005] our crews had to meticulously go through it, actually going underneath the water surface for pockets where material was still on fire.”

WATCH: Delta Mayor Lois Jackson discusses the difficulties in fighting a fire in Burns Bog

The bog is an important migratory stopping point for birds, with over 175 different species making the area home at one point or another during the year.

The 3,000-hectare wilderness —  eight times larger than Stanley Park —  is also home to 300 types of plant species.

The fire broke out on the west side of the bog where several transmission and repeating towers for local radio stations are located. The AM730 traffic tower has already been destroyed, and the station confirmed that it has been knocked off the air.

One firefighter was also hospitalized due to a medical condition aggravated by the fire.

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Our view from the beach today. There’s a fire right on the edge of Burn’s Bog. #delta #burnsbog #fire #beach #wildfire #Vancouver #vancity

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Burns bog #fire #trees #smoke #burnsbog #bog #sky #trees #airplane #water #waterbomber #uhoh #helpme

A post shared by Sydney März (@maerzi) on Jul 3, 2016 at 4:40pm PDT

WATCH: Lynn Colliar and Michael Kuss report on the Burns Bog fire as the story broke

Brexit effect: Falling pound has more Canadians eyeing trips to England

CALGARY – Travel companies say more Canadians are looking at vacations in the United Kingdom because of the dropping British pound in the wake of the country’s decision to leave the European Union.

Melisse Hinkle of Cheapflights长沙夜网 says the travel website experienced a 50 per cent spike in searches for flights from Canada to the U.K. on the weekend after the June 23 vote and interest has been strong since.

“Savvy travellers have realized that, while the long-term impact of the Brexit means big changes for travel to and within Europe, there is an immediate opportunity for more affordable travel,” she said in an email.

WATCH: Brexit fallout continues to batter British pound, world markets

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Hinkle attributed the spike in interest to the drop in the pound’s value against the loonie, making everything from London flights to West End theatre tickets cheaper for Canadians.

Cheapflights长沙夜网 said in a blog post that average airfares on flights to London from Canada in August were already cheaper by about 11 per cent compared with last August. That’s consistent with a recent report from Montreal-based tour operator Transat AT, which said added service to London by Air Canada and WestJet Airlines had forced it to lower its prices to sell seats.

The blog warned that Britain may be more crowded this summer, pointing out that searches for flights from the U.S. to the U.K. doubled in the days after the vote while those from China jumped 61 per cent and searches from EU countries went up more than 30 per cent. It said U.K. citizens are also more likely to vacation close to home.

The British pound rapidly fell to three-decade lows after the referendum, though it has since regained some ground.

READ MORE: Brexit vote: Is it time to buy British pounds and book a trip to UK?

Senior economist Royce Mendes of CIBC says he expects the pound to drop to C$1.70 over the next three months due to political uncertainty and predicted interest rate cuts from the Bank of England before reversing course and rising near the end of the year.

Before the Brexit vote, CIBC had forecast the pound’s value would rise to C$2.02 by Sept. 30.

“We’re looking at Q3 (the third quarter) to be the strongest point and after that the Canadian dollar will start to depreciate against sterling,” he said.

Spokeswoman Allison Wallace of Flight Centre Travel Group agreed that interest in U.K. is up but said bookings aren’t likely to follow.

“This is largely due to the fact that we’re already into high season for travelling to Europe so availability is low, keeping prices high,” she said in an email. “If we see an effect, it will be much more significant going into next summer.”

WestJet’s new flights to London’s Gatwick Airport began in May and have been very popular, said spokeswoman Lauren Stewart. She said it’s too early to say whether demand for the flights has increased.

High-profile Liberal organizer Mike Robinson dies at 67

A high-profile organizer and supporter of former prime minister Paul Martin has died.

The Liberal Party of Canada confirmed Friday that Mike Robinson died in Normandy, France. He was 67.

WATCH: Decision Canada political strategy panel

It was not clear whether he died Thursday or early Friday morning.

Robinson, who was born in Canmore, AB, and grew up in Calgary, spent the last 30 years as one of Canada’s top public affairs consultants.

Robinson served as an executive assistant to a federal cabinet minister in the 1970s and held several senior volunteer positions in the Liberal party, the Earnscliffe Strategy Group website said.

He was also one of the early supporters of Martin during his first leadership run in the 1990s. He served as the chief financial officer for the Liberals from 1986 to 1990.

“My colleagues and I are all devastated. He was well loved within the consulting community, politics and throughout Canada,” said Charles Bird, principal at Earnscliffe, a consulting agency co-founded by Robinson and Harry Near.

“He was a leader and mentor for so many of us.”

Canadian politicians took to 桑拿会所 on Friday to lament Robinson’s death.

Robinson is survived by his wife, ML Walsh, and four children.

Editor’s note: A previous version of the story said Mike Robinson was 65 and born in England. He was 67 and born in Canmore, Alberta.

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Death toll rises to 115 in double bombing in Baghdad

BAGHDAD — A devastating truck bombing on a bustling commercial street in downtown Baghdad killed 115 people early Sunday, brutally underscoring the Islamic State group’s ability to strike the capital despite a string of battlefield losses elsewhere in the country.

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It was the deadliest terror attack in Iraq in a year and one of the worst single bombings in more than a decade of war and insurgency, and it fueled anger toward Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

When al-Abadi visited the site of the suicide blast in the city’s Karada district, a furious mob surrounded his convoy, yelling expletives, hurling rocks and shoes and calling him a “thief.”

READ MORE: 28 killed, including 6 attackers, during hostage crisis in Bangladesh

Many Iraqis blame their political leadership for lapses in security in Baghdad that have allowed large amounts of explosives to make their way past multiple checkpoints and into neighbourhoods packed with civilians.

Karada, a mostly Shiite section, is lined with clothing and jewellery stores, restaurants and cafes. The blast struck during the holy month of Ramadan, with the streets and sidewalks filled with young people and families after they had broken their daylight fast.

Eleven people were missing and 187 were wounded, authorities said. Many of the victims were women and children who were inside a multi-story shopping and amusement mall. Dozens burned to death or suffocated, a police officer said.

IS swiftly claimed responsibility in a statement posted online, saying the organization had targeted Shiites. The Associated Press could not verify the authenticity of the statement, but it was posted on a militant website commonly used by the extremists.

A second bombing early Sunday on another busy commercial street in a Shiite-dominated neighbourhood, this one in east Baghdad, killed five people and wounded 16, authorities said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.



Aftermath of Baghdad blast which killed dozens



Iraqi forces gain ground in battle with ISIS fighters in key city of Fallujah


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Protesters break through walls and storm parliament in Baghdad



Heavily fortified ‘Green Zone’ in Baghdad opens for the first time

Hospital and police officials provided the death tolls and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Iraqi forces, supported by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, have secured a string of victories against IS over the past year and a half, retaking the cities of Tikrit, Ramadi and Fallujah, which was declared fully liberated from the extremist group just over a week ago.

But IS has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to carry out large-scale operations in territory removed from the front-line fighting.

Iraqi officials have repeatedly linked the operation to retake Fallujah to improving security in and around Baghdad, citing the large numbers of bomb factories uncovered in Fallujah, less than an hour drive west of the capital.

However, within Baghdad, security forces that screen for explosives at the ubiquitous checkpoints in and around the city often rely on electronic wands that have been repeatedly discredited.

And security across the capital is fragmented. Baghdad is handled by an array of armed groups that are allied with the government but also loyal to political parties or militias and often do not coordinate or share information.

By early Sunday evening, the crowd at the Karada site had grown, but the yelling had largely ceased.

READ MORE: Iraqi special forces enter centre of IS-held Fallujah

Exhausted family members sat on sidewalks silently awaiting news of missing loved ones as others began to hang freshly printed death notices for the police officers and shop owners killed. Young people lit candles on street corners.

Karim Sami, a 35-year-old street vendor in Karada, was just leaving work when the blast shook the ground beneath him. He said he saw a fireball rise from the blast site and immediately began trying to call his family and friends, but none of his calls went through.

Hours later he discovered one of his friends had been killed, one was wounded and another was missing.

“We are in a state of war,” Sami said, but “the security can’t focus on the war (against IS) and forget Baghdad.”

It was the deadliest bombing in Iraq since July 2015, when a truck bombing in eastern Diyala province killed at least 115 people.

While the U.S.-led coalition conducts police training in Iraq as part of the battle against IS, the vast majority of resources go toward fighting the extremist group on the front lines.

U.S. Army Col. Christopher Garver said that while the coalition and Iraq are concerned about the Islamic State’s insurgent abilities, the current anti-IS effort “is more of a conventional fight.”

Before announcing the operation to retake Fallujah in late May, al-Abadi faced growing unrest sparked in part by anger at the state of security in the capital. In one month, Baghdad’s highly fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings and diplomatic missions, was stormed twice by anti-government protesters.

READ MORE: Fallujah fully liberated from IS group, Iraqi commander says

Al-Abadi issued a statement Sunday condemning the attack and describing the loss of life as a “painful tragedy” that “robbed Iraqis of the delight of their victories against the reprehensible (Islamic State group) in Fallujah.”

“These attacks only strengthen our resolve to support Iraqi security forces as they continue to take back territory from ISIL, just as we continue to intensify our efforts to root out ISIL’s terrorist network and leaders,” White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement, referring to IS by an alternative acronym.

At the height of the extremist group’s power in 2014, IS had driven the government from control across nearly one-third of Iraqi territory. Now the militants are estimated to control only 14 percent, according to the prime minister’s office.


Associated Press writers Murtada Faraj, Ali Abdulhassan and Khalid Mohammed in Baghdad and Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.