Baghdad | Two suicide attacks in and outside the Iraqi capital killed at least 27 people and wounded dozens today, officials said. The deadliest attack took place in a commercial area of a majority Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad.
At least 15 civilians were killed and 35 wounded, police said. Another suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into an Iraqi army checkpoint north of Baghdad, killing at least 12 people, police said. Seven civilians and five troops were killed in the attack in the town of Taji, about 20 kilometres north of the capital, a police officer said.
At least 28 people were wounded, he added. Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to brief the press. In an online statement, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the New Baghdad attack, saying it targeted Shiite militia members.
It later claimed responsibility for the Taji bombing in a second online statement, saying it was targeting the Iraqi army. The Associated Press could not verify the authenticity of the statements, but they were posted on a militant website commonly used by the extremists.
The Sunni militant group often targets Iraq’s Shiite majority, security forces and government officials. Baghdad has seen near-daily attacks in recent weeks. The deadly attacks in the capital and beyond are seen by Iraqi officials as an attempt by the militants to distract the security forces’ attention from the front lines.
The attacks came a day after Iraqi special forces pushed into the IS-held city of Fallujah in a large-scale military operation launched last month. Fallujah, which is about 65 kilometres west of Baghdad, is one of the last major IS strongholds in western Iraq. The extremist group still controls territory in the country’s north and west, as well as Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.
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