ISIS terrorists slaughter 14 Real Madrid fans in Iraq ‘because football is anti-Muslim’
ISIS gunmen shot dead at least 14 Real Madrid fans at a supporters club in Iraq – because they ‘don’t like football’.
Three terrorists stormed the café hosting the meeting around midnight and opened fire at the fans who had gathered to watch old recordings of the Spanish football club.
Armed with AK-47s, they left bodies strewn across floor in the northern Shi’ite Muslim town of Balad.
Gruesome pictures from the scene show the floor covered in broken glass and soaked in blood under posters of Real Madrid players and coach Zinedine Zidane.
President of the Madrid supporters club, Ziad Subhan, said: ‘A group of Islamic terrorists, from ISIS, came into the café, armed with AK-47s, shooting at random at everyone who was inside’.
When asked about the motive for the attack, the president replied: ‘They don’t like football, they think it’s anti-Muslim. They just carry out attacks like this. This is a terrible tragedy’.
Alongside the dead, another 20 people were injured, some of them badly.
Javier Tebas Medrano, president of La Liga, said: ‘Dismayed by the attack against a sentence of Real Madrid [fans] in Iraq. Terrorism attacks the football. We are with the victims and their families.’
Police said one of the gunmen set off his explosive vest at a nearby vegetable market hours later after police and residents cornered him in a disused building.
Four people were killed and two were critically wounded in the shoot-out.
The scorched body of a terrorist was found hanging upside down from a post outside the cafe yesterday.
Residents said they had seized a man who confessed to the attack from a nearby house and burned him alive.
ISIS said the attack was the latest in a campaign to honour Abdel Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, the group’s second-in-command, who was killed in a coalition strike in March.
The storming of the cafe was a shift in tactic from the suicide car bombings ISIS has used to inflict maximum casualties in Shi’ite towns and cities.
ISIS nearly overran Balad, 80 km (50 miles) northof Baghdad, in 2014 and maintains a frontline around 40 km away.
Police were on high alert as it emerged the gunmen had passed three checkpoints before reaching their target.
Following the attack, security forces were deployed throughout the town.
It comes after at least 93 people were killed in three car bomb attacks in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad yesterday.
The deadliest killed 64 people and wounded 87 in a market in the mainly Shia Muslim area of Sadr City.
Police and witnesses said the explosives were hidden under fruit and vegetables loaded on a pick-up trick.
Later two suicide bombers targeted police checkpoints in the northern district of Kadhimiya and in Jamia, in the west, leaving 29 dead.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks in what was the worst day of violence in Baghdad so far this year.
The Sunni jihadist group, which controls large swathes of northern and western Iraq, has frequently targeted Shia, whom it considers apostates.
While ISIS has suffered a number of territorial defeats in the past year, the terrorists are still capable of launching significant attacks across the country, and have recently stepped-up assaults inside Baghdad, something ‘officials’ say is an attempt to distract from their recent battlefield defeats.