News World Melbourne schoolgirl, 12, killed in Baghdad bombing

Melbourne schoolgirl, 12, killed in Baghdad bombing

Zyynab Al-Harbiya
Melbourne schoolgirl Zynab Al-Harbiya was reportedly killed in a Baghdad bombing attack. Photo: Sky News
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A 12-year-old Victorian schoolgirl was at an ice cream parlour during a trip to Iraq to visit a sick family member when she was killed in a terrorist attack.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed Zynab Al-Harbiya was killed and offered the Australian Government’s condolences to her family who live in the northern Melbourne suburb of Thomastown.

Zynab’s cousin, Layla Al-Saabary, said the girl was in Iraq on a trip with her parents to visit her sick grandfather when she died.

A statement from local doctor and Iraqi community member Sama Hadad said: “Zynab Al-Harbiya, a loving and fun 12-year-old, has tragically died in the terrorist attack in Baghdad Monday night.”

“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.”

Ms Al-Saabary told ABC the girl’s mother and uncles were also hurt in the blast.

Zynab has been buried in Iraq.

“All I know is that she was just near the ice-cream parlour and the explosion was close to her so there was no chance. They just brought her body back and buried her yesterday,” Ms Al-Saabary said.

“She told my son before she left, she said ‘I am scared of the bombs’ and we said it is OK.”

Zynab attended Thomastown Primary School and was attending Sirius College in Broadmeadows, Dr Hadad said.

“Her friends and family are left devastated,” the statement said.

Dr Hadad also noted that Zynab’s family was well known in the community, including for their charity work.

Ms Bishop said the girl’s death highlighted the importance of Australia’s involvement in Iraq.

“I extend our deepest sympathies to her family, her loved ones, her fellow students in Broadmeadows,” she said.

“This tragedy underscores the brutality of this terrorist organisation 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 forces to support the Iraqi security forces, so that they can fight to defeat this terrorist organisation within Iraq and to prevent its spread to other parts of the world including in our region.”

The two blasts are believed to have targeted late-night crowds out during the Muslim holy month, who shop and eat ahead of the next day’s fast.

Baghdad bombing claims Australian girl's life
Iraqi security forces and civilians inspect the site of the bomb attack, in Baghdad. Photo: AAP

At least 13 people were killed and 40 wounded outside the popular ice cream shop after a car packed with explosives blew up in the city’s Karrada district.

A few hours later, a second bombing killed 10 people and wounded 44 more near a government office in Karkh district.

IS has claimed responsibility for the two attacks.

Responding to a question about funding for the Australian Federal Police during Question Time, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described Zynab as “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”.

‘Loved’, ‘energetic’ and ‘dedicated’: school pays tribute

Kiralee Mladenis, Zynab’s English teacher at Sirius College, described Zynab as extremely dedicated, adding that the school community was naturally in shock.

“She was loved by all of her friends. Before she went overseas she actually asked me for extra homework,” Ms Mladenis said at a press conference.

“She really cared about her studies and she was extremely excited to go overseas.”

When asked how students at an Islamic school interpret an incident such as this, particularly during Ramadan, Ms Mladenis said: “It is a very, very sad event, especially happening during these blessed days that the girls are fasting as well, which is what was our discussion this morning.

“It is sad. We are very upset with what happened and, yes, it’s not – it’s not part of Islam or it’s not part of our culture, so we definitely condemn this tragic attack.”

Sirius College principal Halid Serdar Takimoglu described the Year 7 student as “energetic, outspoken and passionate and loved by her friends”.

“All of us are deeply distressed that one of our smiling students has been taken from us in a cruel act of violence that is beyond understanding,” Mr Takimoglu said.

Mr Takimoglu said the school held an assembly of year 7 students with counsellors present and that the school will offer extra counselling for students and their families.

– with ABC

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