A 12-year-old Victorian girl has died in a devastating car bomb explosion in Baghdad while she was lining up for ice cream.
Zynab Al Harbiya was visiting the Iraqi capital with her family to visit her sick grandfather.
The year seven student was at the counter of al-Faqma ice-cream parlour after fasting all day for Ramadan when the car bomb went off just before midnight - killing 17 people and wounding up to 32.
Her Melbourne high school, the Broadmeadows campus of Sirius College, has been rocked by the “devastating and shocking” news.
“All of us are deeply distressed that one of our smiling students has been taken from us in a cruel act of violence that is beyond understanding,” the executive principal, Halid Serdar Takimoglu said.
“Our immediate concern is to support Zynab’s family here in Melbourne, her parents in Iraq, our students and our school community.”
Students at the school said prayers for Zynab on Wednesday morning, who has been described as energetic, passionate, outspoken and well-loved.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the car bomb that targeted families eating ice-cream after breaking their Ramadan fast.
Closed-circuit footage shows a packed street moments before a huge fireball engulfs a building, with other videos on social media showing wounded and bloodied people crying for help.
Hours later, during rush hour, another car bomb exploded near the state-run Public Pension Office in the busy Shawaka district, killing at least 14 and wounded another 37.
Both attacks took the death toll to 31.
Despite a decade-long anti-terrorism campaign which has weakened ISIS’ reach inside Baghdad, the group is still able to sneak explosives past checkpoints in the capital with devastating results.
During Ramadan last year, Karrada – also in Baghdad – was hit by a truck bomb planted by ISIS that killed at least 324 people.
Our deepest sympathies go to the families affected by this horrific act of terrorism.
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