Schoolgirl farewelled after Baghdad blast

A Melbourne schoolgirl killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber was remembered as the “life of her family” as friends and family paid tribute.


Zynab Al-Harbiya, 12, was farewelled on Wednesday in a fatiha, a traditional Muslim prayer service, attended by her uncle Ahmed Al-Saabry in the northern suburb of Fawkner.

The year seven girl was killed when a bomb exploded in a busy ice cream parlour in Baghdad on Tuesday. Her mother and uncles were also injured in the blast.

Her death has sent shockwaves through Melbourne’s Muslim community.

Family friend Yasser Alaskary said Zynab was known for being the “life of the family”.

“She was the cheeky one in her family and was funny,” he said.

Zynab was buried on Tuesday in the Najaf cemetery, outside Baghdad.

It is likely the surviving family, including Zynab’s two younger brothers, will remain in Iraq for some time.

“It’s very hard time for them and they are just in shock,” he added.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull condemned the terrorist bombing in Baghdad, which killed 17 people.

“Another innocent killed by this violent tendency, this violent terrorist movement, that is gnawing away, seeking to destroy and pervert and blaspheme one of the great religions of the world,” Mr Turnbull told parliament of the attack.

In a Facebook post Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said his thoughts were with the family of the 12-year-old who was visiting her sick grandfather overseas.

“All terrorism is evil, but there’s something truly insidious about targeting children,” he said.

Teachers at Sirius College in Broadmeadows said she was loved by all her friends and dedicated to her studies.

“Before she went overseas she actually asked me for extra homework. She really cared about her studies and she was extremely excited to go overseas,” teacher Kiralee Mladenis told reporters.

“I think everyone’s in a state of shock, we’re all just trying to be there for each other as much as we can.”

Year seven co-ordinator Esra Alver said the attack happening at such a holy time on the Muslim calendar was particularly upsetting.

“It’s not part of Islam, it’s not part of our culture,” she said.

CCTV captured the blast, showing a building on a busy street engulfed in a huge fireball as drivers scramble to get away.

Other videos of the attack posted on social media show wounded and bloodied people crying for help on the footpath outside the ice cream parlour.

A second car bomb went off during rush hour, killing 14 and wounding at least 37 people.

IS claimed responsibility for the two attacks, in statements released online, saying its suicide bombers had targeted gatherings of Shi’ite Muslims.