Baghdad bombing death toll hits 250, Iraq's interior minister resigns

The death toll from a massive suicide bombing in Baghdad over the weekend has reached 250, Iraq's health ministry said on Tuesday.

Attacks show ISIS remains a threat despite losing considerable ground to Iraqi forces on the battlefield

A woman grieves during the funeral procession of a bomb victim in the Karada neighbourhood or Baghdad on Tuesday as further victims are still being recovered from the site of the weekend suicide bombing. (Hadi Mizban/Associated Press)

Iraq's interior minister resigned on Tuesday and said a deputy would take over his responsibilities, a few days after the deadliest of many car bombings in Baghdad since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. 

Mohammed Ghabban made the announcement at a news conference in Baghdad, a video of which was posted on his Facebook page.

His resignation will be official only if Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi approves it. Abadi's office had no immediate comment. 

Iraqi Interior Minister Mohammed Ghabban, seen here in March 2015, has stepped down amid security concerns sparked by a deadly suicide bombing in a busy Baghdad shopping district. (Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters)

The death toll from a massive suicide bombing in Baghdad's central shopping district of Karrada on Saturday has reached 250, Iraq's Health Ministry said on Tuesday. 

It was the worst single car bomb attack in Iraq since U.S. forces toppled Saddam Hussein 13 years ago, and it deepened the anger of many Iraqis over the weak performance of the security apparatus.

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, who government forces are trying to eject from large swathes of northern and western territory seized in 2014, claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Iraq's ministry of health has increased the death toll from a suicide attack on the weekend to 250. (Ahmed Saad/Reuters)

The attack showed ISIS remains capable of ad-hoc attacks causing major loss of life despite losing considerable ground on the battlefield, most recently the city of Falluja, an hour's drive west of the capital.

The interior minister said that the explosive-packed vehicle came from the eastern province of Diyala, blaming a lack of communicating between multiple forces in charge of the capital's security.

Ghabban told Reuters in an interview last month that a recent spate of ISIS bombings in Baghdad would not end unless "disorder" plaguing Iraq's security apparatus was rectified.

He said then that security forces outside his control —  including units reporting to two counter-terrorism agencies, two Defence Ministry directorates and regional security commands — overlap with his ministry's own counter-intelligence efforts.