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Iraqi Interior Minister Submits Resignation After Massive Baghdad Blast

Iraqi Interior Minister Mohammed Ghabban

Iraq’s interior minister says he has submitted his resignation to the prime minister following one of the worst bombings in Baghdad since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Mohammed Ghabban said on July 5 that a deputy would take over his responsibilities. His resignation will be official only if Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi approves it. Abadi's office had no immediate comment.

The move comes as Iraq's Health Ministry raised the death toll to 250 from the explosion of a refrigerated truck in a shopping area in Baghdad early on July 3 while families were shopping for the holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

The Islamic State extremist group, which overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying an Iraqi suicide bomber carried it out.

The government has declared three days of mourning after the blast.

Ghabban also said the car bomb came from Diyala Province north of the capital and that checkpoints throughout Baghdad are "absolutely useless."

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters