Aussie high school student confirmed killed in IS car bomb attack in Baghdad: FM

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-31 13:29:46|Editor: xuxin
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CANBERRA, May 31 (Xinhua) -- A 12-year-old Australian high school student has been confirmed as one of at least 20 people killed by an Islamic State (IS) car bomb which exploded outside a Baghdad ice-cream parlour in the early hours of Tuesday, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Wednesday morning.

Zynab Al Harbiya was with family visiting her sick grandfather in the Iraqi capital, and had asked her mother to take her to the ice-cream parlour after fasting throughout the day, when a car bomb exploded, killing at least 20 people and injuring dozens more.

On Wednesday, Bishop confirmed the seventh grade student at Melbourne's Sirius College was killed in the attack, and has since been buried in the Iraqi capital.

"IS has claimed responsibility for this vicious car bombing that killed so many people. It's with great sadness that I can confirm that a 12-year-old Australian girl, Zynab Al Harbiya, was killed during this car bombing," Bishop said at a press conference on Wednesday.

"She's a young girl from Melbourne who was visiting Baghdad with her family, to see her sick grandfather during Ramadan.

"I extend our deepest sympathies to her family, her loved ones and her fellow students at Sirius College in Broadmeadows."

A statement released by Melbourne Iraqi community representative Sama Hadad described Al Harbiya as a "loving and fun 12-year-old."

"That night she had begged her mum to take her to a local ice-cream parlour at the end of a long hot day fasting. She will now never make it back home," the statement said.

Meanwhile, Bishop reiterated Australia's commitment to the fight against IS in the Middle East, explaining that the tragedy "underscores the brutality of this terrorist organization that shows no respect for religion, nationality, sovereignty, borders - no respect for humanity."

"This is why the Australian government has continued to commit our defence personnel to support the Iraqi security forces, so that they can fight to defeat this terrorist organization within Iraq and to prevent its spread to other parts of the world including in our region," Bishop said.

A spokesperson from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has said that latest reports put the death toll from the blast at "over 30 with dozens more injured," while it was confirmed that Al Harbiya's family was receiving consular assistance.