April 23, 2019

Dozens killed in Baghdad car bomb blasts


ISIL claims deadliest car bombing in Sadr City area of Iraqi capital, as scores of casualties are left across Baghdad.
Four separate car bombings in the Iraqi capital have claimed at least 88 lives, police sources told the reporter.

Wednesday’s deadliest blast, from a 4WD vehicle packed with explosives, occured near a beauty salon in a bustling market at rush hour in Baghdad’s Sadr City neighbourhood, killing at least 61 people and wounding more than 100 others.

Most of the victims of that attack were women, Iraqi police and hospital sources told Reuters news agency.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL, also known as ISIS) claimed responsibility for that attack – which was the year’s deadliest in the Iraqi capital – in a statement on social media shortly after the blast.

The group said the assault was carried out by a suicide bomber, a claim Iraqi officials denied.

Later on Wednesday, three more car bomb blasts rocked three other districts in Baghdad, killing at least 27 people, at police checkpoints in the predominantly Shia Muslim Kadhimiyah and Hurriyah districts, as well as the Jamiyah district, police sources told Al Jazeera.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the later bombings. Tolls for all attacks are expected to rise.
Elsewhere in Iraq’s western Anbar province, on the outskirts of the town of al-Baghdadi, at least 15 Iraqi soldiers were killed and more than 40 wounded in another ISIL suicide attack.

Fighters blew up several cars as Iraqi forces drew closer to ISIL-held territories.

The Iraqi army recently announced a military operation to recapture the town, which fell to ISIL in 2014.

In the past two weeks, ISIL has claimed responsibility for two attacks targeting the Shia community in Baghdad.

First, a car bomb, targeting an open-air market frequented by Shia Muslims in Nahrawan, near Baghdad, killed at least 23 people and injured 38 others.

Two days later, a car bombing targeting Shia pilgrims commemorating the death anniversary of a revered 8th-century imam killed at least 18 people.

In February, ISIL also claimed a twin suicide bombing in Sadr City that killed 70 people.

According to the United Nations, at least 741 Iraqis were killed in April in ongoing violence, a sharp decline from the previous month.

In its monthly report issued on May 1, the UN mission to Iraq put the number of civilians killed at 410, while the rest were members of the security forces. A total of 1,374 Iraqis were wounded that month, it added.

In March, at least 1,119 people were killed and 1,561 wounded.

Baghdad remains the worst-hit area in terms of documented deaths, with 232 civilians killed and 642 wounded in April.
Ghassan al-Attiyah, from the Iraqi Institute for Democracy and Development, told the reporter that the central problem lies in the lack of unity among the Iraqi people, as well as the lack of confidence citizens have in their government.

The fight against ISIL has exacerbated the sectarian conflict in Iraq, mostly between the Shia majority and the Sunni minority, which has seen flare ups since the US-led invasion in 2003.

Sectarian tensions also threaten to undermine efforts to dislodge ISIL from vast areas of the north and west of Iraq that they seized in 2014.

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