Dozens killed in Baghdad car bombings

By BBC

At least 93 people have been killed in three car bomb attacks in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, police and medics say.

The deadliest killed 64 people and wounded 87 in a market in the mainly Shia Muslim area of Sadr City.

Later two suicide bombers targeted police checkpoints in the northern district of Kadhimiya and in Jamia, in the west, leaving 29 dead.

The so-called Islamic State (IS) group claimed the attacks – the worst day of violence in Baghdad so far this year.

The Sunni jihadist group, which controls large swathes of northern and western Iraq, has frequently targeted Shia, whom it considers apostates.

The target of Wednesday’s first bombing was the busy market in Sadr City.

Police and witnesses said the explosives were hidden under fruit and vegetables loaded on a pick-up trick.

They said the driver disappeared after parking the vehicle in the market, shortly before the massive blast turned the area into an inferno.

“It was such a thunderous explosion that jolted the ground,” Karim Salih, a 45-year old grocer, told the Associated Press. “The force of the explosion threw me for meters away and I lost consciousness for a few minutes.”

Many victims were women inside a beauty salon, including several brides who appeared to be getting ready for their weddings, police sources told Reuters news agency. The bodies of two men believed to be grooms were found in an adjacent barber shop, they added.

Sadr City, a huge, largely Shia suburb, has frequently been the target of bomb attacks by Sunni extremists but this is one of the worst, says the BBC’s Jim Muir in Iraq.

IS said one of its suicide bombers had carried out the attack, and that it was aimed at Shia militiamen, an account that seems to be at odds with reports from the scene, our correspondent adds.

Hours later, a suicide car bomb exploded outside a police checkpoint in Kadhimiya, a mostly Shia district that is the location of an important shrine, officials said.

Both police officers and civilians were among the at least 17 people who died and 43 who were injured, officials said.

At around the same time, another suicide car bomb targeted a checkpoint in the Jamia district, which is predominantly Sunni, killing 12 people and wounding 31.

 

  

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