Baghdad car bomb kills young Iraqi footballer

Baghdad car bomb kills young Iraqi footballer

A car bombing in Baghdad killed Iraqi footballer Mahdi Abdulzahra on his way to practise, an official from his Electricity Club team said on Tuesday.

Abdulzahra, who was born in 1996, was among eight people killed in the blast close to a restaurant and a mosque in the Sadr City area on Monday.

He was one of the top players for the Electricity Club, one of the various Iraqi football teams associated with government ministries, and was chosen to try out for Iraq's Olympic team.

Football is wildly popular in Iraq and support for the national team brings together the country's disparate religious and ethnic groups.

Car and roadside bombings used to be a daily occurence in Baghdad, but with militants tied down fighting Iraqi security forces and allied paramilitary groups, such attacks have fallen sharply.

Violence is however still a major problem in other parts of the country, with hundreds of people killed per month as pro-government forces battle the Islamic State jihadist group, which led an offensive that overran large areas last year.

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