A CAR bomb killed 120 people and injured at least 130 at a busy market in an Iraqi town yesterday, officials confirmed.
The attack happened in the mainly Shia town of Khan Bani Saad, north of Baghdad.
Children were among those killed in the explosion, which came as people celebrated the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The Islamic State (IS) group, which control swathes of the country, has said it was behind the attack.
A statement from the group said one of its members drove three tonnes of explosives into a crowd.
The Diyala provincial authorities yesterday declared three days of mourning.
Correspondents said it was one of the deadliest single attacks in Iraq over the last ten years and completely destroyed several buildings.
Police major Ahmed al-Tamimi said the damage was “devastating”.
“Some people were using vegetable boxes to collect children’s body parts,” he said.
Diyala resident Sayif Ali said Khan Bani Saad has become a disaster area as its residents continued to search for bodies.
Meanwhile, Iraqi parliament speaker Salim al-Jabouri said the attack has revealed an “ugly sectarian chord” and that the government was doing all it could to stop IS from further destabilising Diyala.
IS militants are battling government forces in the north and west of the country.
The group captured parts of Diyala last year. Although IS was later driven out, it still has a presence there.
Authorities have declared three days of mourning following the explosion and cancelled festivities for Eid al-Fitr, a religious holiday which marks the end of Ramadan.