ISKANDARIYA, Iraq, March 26 (UPI) -- At least 41 people, many children, were killed and more than 100 were injured after an Islamic State suicide bomber blew himself up at a soccer stadium in a small Iraqi town.
The explosion in the town about 30 miles south of Baghdad came during the trophy ceremony after a youth soccer championship at al-Shuhadaa stadium. Many of the dead were teenage boys, Sky News reported.
The bomber approached the trophy table, where a crowd had gathered to celebrate the new champions, before detonating himself.
The IS, also known as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL, took responsibility for the attack in an online statement, according to CNN. The organization said it also killed three Iraqi soldiers in a separate attack on a military base.
The attacks come at the end of a week that started with the group's attack in Brussels on Tuesday, as experts say the IS is losing ground in areas of Iraq and Syria it occupies and has been for months.
"The terrorists are sparing no one," said United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in an address to the Iraqi Council of Representatives in Baghdad. "They aim to strike at civilians everywhere and at any time, and to kill as many as possible. Yesterday it was spectators at a football game; a few weeks ago it was dozens of civilians waiting at a security checkpoint. They target funeral services and shopping malls. The international community stands with Iraqis in horror and outrage."
The United States estimates IS has lost about 40 percent of the territory it once held in Iraq, and has lost about 20 percent of its land in Syria. Russian forces in Syria helped push back the group in that country, while the Iraqi military has been retaking ground in its own country and the United States has fought the group from the sky -- including killing its second in command last week.