Rescuers and local residents could not pull Abu Mustafa and his family from their burning car in time.
Abu Mustafa, an agricultural employee, his wife -- an engineer -- and their two children, one of whom was an infant, were near a checkpoint Tuesday (March 19th) in the city of al-Hilla, Babil province, when the man driving in front of them blew up his booby-trapped car.
The family were on their way to visit relatives when they were burned alive inside their car. Rescuers and injured bystanders looked on helplessly, unable to save them, said family friend Haidar Nassy, 43, during the funeral service.
"Our only recourse is patience and solidarity with the security forces, taking precautions and being on the alert until this black storm moves away from our country," Nassy told Mawtani.
Attacks across Iraq on Tuesday killed at least 59 people -- including seven children -- and wounded at least 236, according to Col. Hikmat Mahmoud al-Masari, director of media and communications at the Iraqi Interior Ministry.
"About 80% of those attacks targeted unarmed civilians who were at the market, restaurants or in public areas, including a children's school," said al-Masari.
Al-Qaeda affiliate the "Islamic State of Iraq" claimed responsibility for the Tuesday wave of bombings, deeming them "revenge" attacks in a statement posted online on jihadist forums.
Interior Ministry spokesperson Col. Saad Maan said Wednesday that security forces started a large-scale investigation into the attacks.
"Security forces will not give up their responsibility and duty to fight terrorism and counter its aggression and bloodiness," he told Mawtani. "The fight against terror in Iraq will continue as long as there is an obscurantist, bloody and takfiri ideology that targets civil peace and social harmony."
"There will be a swift and painful reaction by security forces against the terrorist elements that were involved in these attacks in the coming days," he added.
According to al-Masari, a group of 39 army and police officers were suspended and are currently under investigation for failing to maintain security in the areas under their responsibility.
Lt. Gen. Hasan al-Baidhani, the Baghdad military operations deputy commander, told Mawtani he sees the bombings as a "clear" attempt "to incite crisis among Iraqis, and create sectarian strife".
"But, that will not happen, as the people have become aware that all Iraqis are victims of these bombings, and that al-Qaeda's objective is to make Iraqis kill each other," he said.
Al-Baidhani said army forces arrested on Tuesday 26 suspected al-Qaeda members in connection with the bombings, adding that these men had 33 explosive charges and 12 Katyusha rockets in their possession.
The army also killed a man wearing an explosives belt before he could detonate it in al-Harthiya area, central Baghdad, he said, and prevented five attacks using booby-trapped cars and six attacks employing explosive charges in al-Harthiya, Sabaa al-Bor, al-Husseiniya and al-Amel neighbourhoods.
The federal police announced on Wednesday that security forces arrested five individuals suspected of involvement in the attacks.
"A police force raided three residential building in Sabaa al-Bor and al-Taji this morning, arresting five suspects, including three who had explosives in their possession," Brig. Gen. Majed al-Anbaki, deputy federal policy chief, told Mawtani.
Security measures in Baghdad and Babil were stepped up during the funeral processions of the victims to prevent further attacks. Iraqis buried their friends and loved ones about three hours after security authorities lifted the curfew they had imposed immediately following the attacks, allowing victims' families to retrieve their bodies from hospitals.
The bodies of the victims were covered with Iraqi flags and white banners. Mourners denounced al-Qaeda in chants, and called on the government to address the security situation.
At least 23 funeral processions emerged from al-Shula, al-Kadhimiyah, al-Washash, al-Dora, Sabaa al-Bor, Sadr City, al-Mashtal, Baghdad al-Jadeeda, Karradat Mariam, al-Resala, al-Elam, al-Utaifiya, al-Hurriya and al-Zaafaraniya -- all areas that witnessed attacks on Tuesday, according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry.
Processions headed towards cemeteries in Baghdad, Najaf and Karbala, while Babil provincial officials announced a three-day mourning period for victims who died in al-Iskandariyah and al-Hilla.
At least 7,000 Iraqi citizens donated blood in Baghdad, Babil, Anbar, Diyala, Ninawa, Wasit and Karbala, to help the bombing victims, said Deputy Health Minister Khamees al-Saad.
Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq appealed to Iraqi citizens to "show compassion towards their brothers, the families of the victims, and help security forces in their effort to deprive al-Qaeda of taking an empty victory on the bodies of children, women and innocent citizens".
Al-Mutlaq told Mawtani he visited the sites of the attacks.
They were "mere havens for poor and disadvantaged Iraqis, and there was nothing that could be described as a security target, showing that terrorists are now focusing their war on the people, whether Sunnis or Shia, indiscriminately", he added.
Qusay al-Suhail, first deputy speaker of the Iraqi parliament, condemned the attacks.
He called on all political parties to "unify their efforts in the face of al-Qaeda's threats, and set their political differences aside".
Meanwhile, Sheikh Ahmad Abdul Ghafoor al-Samarrae, head of the Sunni Endowment office in Iraq, said, "Today's bombings shed too much innocent blood."
"As in former attacks, they make it incumbent on us religious leaders, to stand in the face of those who use religion as a means to kill and intimidate people," he added.
"We, as Sunnis of Iraq, are absolved of al-Qaeda and those who support al-Qaeda," he said.
"The sacred blood that the terrorists shed today is very precious, and the terrorists will pay a heavy price soon, no doubt," said Saadoun Hussein, 39, a resident of Baghdad's al-Ameriya neighbourhood.
He called on security forces to "arrest the thugs and bring us the good news of their capture soon".