Suicide blast in Baghdad, attacks earlier in the day kill 27
BAGHDAD (AP) — Several attacks in and around Baghdad, including a suicide car bombing in a busy commercial area after nightfall on Thursday, killed at least 27 people in a particularly brutal day in the Iraqi capital.
The suicide bomber, who targeted shops and food stands near a bus station in the city’s busy Bab al-Muadam area, killed 11, a police officer said. He says the bombing also wounded at least 22 people.
Earlier in the day, bombings elsewhere in and around Baghdad killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens, officials said.
A medical official confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for any of the attacks but they bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group, which has carried out a string of bombings in Baghdad over the past week, killing nearly 100 people.
Earlier Thursday, a car bomb tore through a Baghdad market, killing nine people while four other attacks — mostly by bombs that went off in commercial areas or targeted security forces — killed at least seven.
In the Baghdad market attack, the car bomb was parked near outdoor fruit and vegetable stalls in a mostly Shiite neighborhood. The fatalities included two policemen. The Sunni extremists frequently target Iraq’s security forces and civilians in Shiite neighborhoods.
IS has managed to carry out a series of attacks across Iraq while also putting up stiff resistance in the northern city of Mosul, where U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have been waging a massive offensive since mid-October to retake the city, Iraq’s second-largest, from the militants.
Mosul, about 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, is the extremist group’s last major urban bastion in the country. Iraqi forces have retaken around a quarter of the city since the offensive began.
Iraq announced a new operation on Thursday to recapture IS-held towns near the Syrian border.
Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Mohammadi said the troops would try to dislodge IS from Rawah, Anah and Qaim, towns in the western Anbar province that fell to the extremists in the summer of 2014. U.S.-backed Iraqi forces drove IS from the two main cities of Anbar, Ramadi and Fallujah, last year.
Associated Press writer Murtada Faraj in Baghdad contributed to this report.