BAGHDAD — Iraq has hanged three people convicted of involvement in a vehicle bombing in Baghdad that killed more than 300 people and injured hundreds in 2016.
The bomb exploded as people were enjoying a night out during the holy month of Ramadan.
It was the deadliest single bombing in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003.
The Islamic State group (IS) has admitted to carrying out the attack. IS has been defeated and lost control of the territory, but still remains active.
The executions were carried out on Sunday or Monday, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani’s office said. It did not name those executed.
A government source told AFP news agency that Ghazwan al-Zawbaee, held to be the IS mastermind behind the attack, was among those put to death. Zawbaee had been captured and returned to Iraq in 2021.
The prime minister informed victims’ families that “the rightful punishment of death sentence” had been carried out against “three key criminals found guilty of their involvement in the terrorist bombing”, his office said.
On 3 July 2016 a vehicle filled with explosives was blown up next to a crowded shopping center in Karrada, a mainly Shia area of the Iraqi capital.
Many of the victims were killed by a fire that ripped through the building after the bomb blast.
Interior Minister Mohammed Ghabban resigned in the wake of the blast.
The then-Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, accused Zawbaee of being the “primary culprit” behind that attack and “many others”.
IS, a Sunni Muslim group, once controlled 88,000 sq km (34,000 sq miles) of territory stretching from eastern Iraq to western Syria and imposed its brutal rule on almost eight million people.
Despite the group’s defeat on the battlefield in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria two years later, it is estimated that thousands of militants remain active in both countries.
In March, the UN estimated that IS still had “5,000 to 7,000 members and supporters” across Iraq and neighbouring Syria, “roughly half of whom are fighters”. — BBC