Children and women were among the dead and injured, health and safety officials said. The explosion took place in the Wahailat open-air market in Sadr City, a predominantly Shia Muslim neighborhood east of Baghdad.
Police officials said a number of shops and stores were also damaged by the blast.
The market, like many other public places, was filled with shoppers preparing to celebrate an Islamic religious holiday, Eid al-Adha. Videos posted on social media show women holding babies and screaming as they flee the scene.
In a statement released on Monday, the Iraqi military said the explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED). However, two police officers said they had not yet determined the cause of the explosion as the investigation was still ongoing.
Ali Yassin, a resident of Sadr City, said he had given up hope that Iraq would be a safe place for his four children to grow up.
“Not a day goes by in Iraq without a tragic incident,” Yassin told CNN. “Why can’t we live like the rest of the country? Why can’t we enjoy peace like the rest of the world? ”
“If I am financially capable, I would leave Iraq with my family immediately,” Yassin added.
Senior Iraqi government officials, including the Iraqi President and the Iraqi Prime Minister, condemned the “terrorist attack” and promised to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We will not be calm unless we uproot hateful and cowardly terrorism, and it is certain that the will of the Iraqis goes beyond their criminality and wickedness,” President Barham Salih said in a statement released on Monday by his office.
Colonel Wayne Marotto, military spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the global coalition to defeat what remains of ISIS’s caliphate, offered his condolences to the families of the victims in a tweet on Monday.
“This horrific attack just before Eid Al-Adha is a terrible reminder of the violence Iraqi children continue to face,” Sheema Sen Gupta, UNICEF representative in Iraq, said in a statement Monday.
“On the eve of Eid Al-Adha and as Iraqis mourn this sad moment, UNICEF calls on all actors in Iraq to work together for a safer Iraq where children do not have to live in fear and where they can enjoy their most basic rights and activities. “Gupta said.
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