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More than 100 dead in Baghdad bombing

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(NBC) -

More than 100 people were killed when a suicide bomber hit a crowded Baghdad shopping area, officials told NBC News on Sunday.

The blast hit an area of Baghdad shortly after midnight, when the area was packed with locals who'd gone out after breaking their Ramadan fast.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and said they had deliberately targeted Shiite Muslims.

Footage from the scene showed smoke rising from charred buildings and ambulances with sirens wailing.

Mohammed Al-Rubaiy, from Baghdad governate's security committee, told NBC News that 167 people were killed and 185 were injured. Several children and women were among the dead.

Other reports put the death toll at around 100; conflicting casualty counts are common in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

"It was like an earthquake," Karim Sami, a 35-year-old street vendor, told the AP. "I wrapped up my goods and was heading home when I saw a fire ball with a thunderous bombing. I was so scared to go back and started to make phone calls to my friends, but none answered."

The high toll made it the deadliest attack in the capital this year and comes after Iraqi forces managed recapture the city of Fallujah from ISIS last month.

Jan Kubis, the U.N. envoy for Iraq, said the attack was a "heinous" attempt by ISIS to avenge losses on the battlefield.

"This is a cowardly and heinous act of unparalleled proportions, to target peaceful civilians in the closing days of the holy month of Ramadan," Kubis said in a statement. "This shows Daesh's wanton intentions to kill, maim and demoralize."

Sami expressed frustration with the government's failure to secure the capital in wake of the Fallujah victory.

"We are in a state of war, and these places are targeted. The security can't focus on the war (against ISIS) and forget Baghdad," Sami, the street vendor, said.

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