'Unique, strange, and terrible' — ISIS may have created a new type of bomb

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A Pair of Bombings in Baghdad Killed at Least 200

On July 3, 292 Iraqis were killed during ISIS' deadliest attack thus far.

In a crowded street in Baghdad's Karrada neighborhood, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, or VBIED, detonated after midnight, causing nearby dwellings to be engulfed in flames.

Many residents were trapped inside the inferno — it was estimated that 20 to 30 people died from the initial explosion.

But investigators at the scene are now concerned with another potential threat: The terrorist group may have developed and used a new type of bomb.

"We've never seen it before, and it's very worrying," a Western security source in Baghdad told the BBC.

See images from the deadly attack:

23 PHOTOS
Baghdad bombings - July 3 2016
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Baghdad bombings - July 3 2016
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH Civilians carry the body of a victim killed in a suicide car bomb in the Karrada shopping area, in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al MousilyTEMPLATE OUT
A fireman hoses down a burning building after a suicide car bomb occurred in the Karrada shopping area in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
Firemen hose down a burning building as civilians gather after a suicide car bomb occurred in the Karrada shopping area in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
Iraqi security forces and civilians gather at the site after a suicide car bomb occurred in the Karrada shopping area in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
Iraqi security forces and civilians gather at the site after a suicide car bomb occurred in the Karrada shopping area in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
Iraqi security forces and civilians gather at the site after a suicide car bomb occurred in the Karrada shopping area in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
Iraqi security forces and civilians gather at the site after a suicide car bomb occurred in the Karrada shopping area in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
People gather at the site of a suicide car bomb in the Karrada shopping area, in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
People gather at the site of a suicide car bomb in the Karrada shopping area, in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
People gather at the site of a suicide car bomb in the Karrada shopping area, in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
People gather at the site of a suicide car bomb in the Karrada shopping area, in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
People gather at the site of a suicide car bomb in the Karrada shopping area, in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
People gather at the site of a suicide car bomb in the Karrada shopping area, in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
Firemen inspect the site of a suicide car bomb in the Karrada shopping area, in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
People gather at the site of a suicide car bomb in the Karrada shopping area, in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
BAGHDAD, IRAQ - JULY 03: Iraqi people who lost their relatives mourn after a suicide car bombing, claimed by the terrorist organization DAESH, in the Karrada neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq on July 03, 2016. It is reported that 60 people were killed and 100 wounded in the blast. (Photo by Amir Saadi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BAGHDAD, IRAQ - JULY 03: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains graphic content.) Iraqi people carry a wounded citizen after a suicide car bombing, claimed by the terrorist organization DAESH, in the Karrada neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq on July 03, 2016. It is reported that 60 people were killed and 100 wounded in the blast. (Photo by Amir Saadi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Iraqis evacuate a body from the site of a suicide car bombing claimed by the Islamic State group on July 3, 2016 in Baghdad's central Karrada district. The blast, which ripped through a street in the Karrada area where many people go to shop ahead of the holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, killed at least 75 people and also wounded more than 130 people, security and medical officials said. The Islamic State group issued a statement claiming the suicide car bombing, saying it was carried out by an Iraqi as part of the group's 'ongoing security operations'. / AFP / SABAH ARAR (Photo credit should read SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi women wait for their family members who are missing after a car bomb at a commercial area in Karada neighborhood, Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, July 3, 2016. Bombs went off early Sunday in two crowded commercial areas in Baghdad. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Iraqi firefighters extinguish a fire as civilians gather after a car bomb at a commercial area in Karada neighborhood, Baghdad, Iraq, early Sunday, July 3, 2016. Bombs went off early Sunday in two crowded commercial areas in Baghdad. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Iraqi firefighters extinguish a fire as civilians gather after a car bomb at a commercial area in Karada neighborhood, Baghdad, Iraq, early Sunday, July 3, 2016. Bombs went off early Sunday in two crowded commercial areas in Baghdad. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Iraqi firefighters and civilians gather at the site after a car bomb at a commercial area in Karada neighborhood, Baghdad, Iraq, early Sunday, July 3, 2016. Bombs went off early Sunday in two crowded commercial areas in Baghdad. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
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So far, investigators have determined that the type of explosives and the way the chemicals were assembled in the van differed from the traditional methods inside the war-torn country.

This may explain how the explosion from the VBIED had left no distinctive crater, and that the impact from the initial explosion left buildings in the neighborhood still intact.

Explosive experts told the BBC that the chemical composition was unique and that it was difficult to make.

"We are used to big fires, but the chemicals in this bomb were used for the first time in Iraq," said Brig. Gen. Kadhim Bashir Saleh of the Civil Defense Force. "It was unique, strange, and terrible."

Other unnamed experts told the BBC that the blast itself was "as hot as the surface of the sun."

Iraq Karrada VBIED bombHadi Mizban/AP

Investigators believe that the bomb-makers, who most likely assembled the explosives in nearby Fallujah, took a formula on the internet and adjusted it to increase its volatility. The adjustments also made the bomb more difficult for Iraqi security forces to detect before the detonation.

ISIS has found considerable success in using VBIEDs for both terror attacks and as a military tactic. A Baghdad police captain previously referred to ISIS bombs as "works of art" because of their precision and ability to cause mass casualties.

Iraqi security forces believe that the majority of ISIS' VBIEDs are constructed in the areas around Fallujah, which was recently retaken by Baghdad from the terror group. In order to help limit the flow of these weapons out of the area and into Baghdad, 40 miles away, Iraq has started to dig a giant trench around Fallujah. The goal is to force all traffic onto a single road in and out of the city to allow for better screening of vehicles.

NOW WATCH: The Air Force is ready to use an upgraded B-52 bomber to strike ISIS

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