Iraq death toll continues to rise days after Baghdad bombing

"I placed my resignation before the Prime Minister", Mr. Ghabban said at a news conference.

Small-scale bombings occur nearly daily in Baghdad, and in May a string of larger bombings, many claimed by IS, killed more than 200 people in a single week.

The death toll in the suicide bombing at a shopping complex last weekend in Baghdad rose again Thursday, although Iraqi officials gave different numbers.

The attack, claimed by the militant group Islamic State, which the government is battling in the north and west, was the deadliest of the many vehicle bombings in Baghdad since the 2003 USA -led invasion.

Ghabban handed authority to his deputy, until Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi makes a decision on who will replace him.

It was the country's worst attack since the 2003 US-led invasion.

Suicide truck bombing in Baghdad. Image Source Reuters
Suicide truck bombing in Baghdad. Image Source Reuters

Ghabban called on the government to hand over responsibility for the security of the country's cities to the interior ministry and described the hundreds of checkpoints dotted around the capital as "absolutely useless".

Responsibility for securing Baghdad is shared by the army, federal and local police.

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. Buildings were engulfed in flames, and some of the bodies were charred so badly, they will have to undergo DNA testing for identification.

The minister told AFP on Tuesday that the process of identifying all of the unknown bodies - which she said at the time numbered 150 - was expected to take between 15 and 45 days.

A stretcher piled with ashes, some of which had spilled over the side onto the blood-streaked floor, sat near the door inside the morgue.

"What matters is that he is Iraqi and he needs it", Abbas said.

  • Joey Payne