ISIS militants wielding AK-47s killed 16 Real Madrid fans at a supporters’ club in Iraq – because they ‘don’t like football’.
The group stormed the building in Samarra, Iraq, and opened fire on a group of around 50 people who had gathered to watch a game.
ISIS claim the massacre was carried out to honor Abdel Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, the group’s second-in-command, who was killed in a coalition strike in March.
The La Liga giants published a statement on their official wesbite saying football will never be defeated by terrorism.
“Real Madrid C.F. deeply regrets the terrible attack in Iraq which today saw 16 members of a Real Madrid supporters club lose their lives and which has also left over 20 injured,” it read.
“The club expresses its great sadness and offers its regards and condolences to the families and friends of the victims.
“Real Madrid extends all of its solidarity to the people of Iraq, who suffer the excessive injustices of extreme violence.
“The Real Madrid players will tomorrow wear symbolic black armbands as a sign of their mourning and respect. Football and sport shall always be spaces in which to come together and in which harmony and peace reign and with which no form of barbaric terrorism will be able to compete.
“Today Madridismo across the whole world cries for its supporters, who shall never be forgotten.”
The president of the supporters club, Ziad Subhan, said: “A group of Islamist terrorists, from ISIS, came into the cafÈ armed with AK-47s, shooting at random at everyone who was inside.”
“They don’t like football – they think it’s anti-Muslim. They just carry out attacks like this. This is a terrible tragedy.”
One of the gunmen is reported to have set off his explosive vest, killing four more people, at a nearby vegetable market hours later after police and residents surrounded him in a disused building.
The scorched body of a suspected gunman was found hanging upside down from a post outside the cafe yesterday, with residents saying they captured a man who confessed to the attack and burned him alive.
Javier Tebas Medrano, president of La Liga, said he was “dismayed by the attack” on the fans and that the league was “with the victims and their families”.
Earlier this week, three separate car bombings in Baghdad killed at least 93 people and wounded 165.
ISIS later claimed responsibility for all three bombings.
Iraqi authorities are coming under increasing pressure over security breaches in Baghdad, with the country’s top Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani condemning the latest attacks.
He said the government is ultimately responsible for such security breaches, following protests in Baghdad’s Sadr City district and has called for the defense secretary and Prime Minister to resign.