Baghdad bomb blasts kill dozens

Iraqis inspect the scene of a bomb explosion at outdoor market in the Shaab neighbourhood of northern BaghdadImage copyright

Image caption

Officials said the car bomb in Shaab was followed by a suicide attack

Four bomb blasts in Baghdad have killed more than 60 people, medics say, the latest in a series of attacks in the Iraqi capital in the past week.

The first and deadliest attack hit an outdoor market in the northern, mainly Shia Muslim area of Shaab.

Two other bombs went off in the neighbouring predominantly Shia district of Sadr City, and another among shoppers in Rashid, to the south.

The jihadist group Islamic State (IS) said it carried out the Shaab attack.

More than 100 civilians altogether were injured in the attacks, medics said.

IS, which controls large swathes of northern and western Iraq, has frequently targeted Shia, whom it considers apostates.

In Shaab, a roadside bomb first exploded outside the concrete walls surrounding an open-air market.

A suicide bomber then targeted those who were helping the victims of the previous explosion, a police officer said.

Authorities first said a female bomber was behind the attack, but IS identified the bomber as a man.

At least 28 people were killed there.

Shortly afterwards, a bomb struck a fruit-and-vegetable market in the mixed Shia-Sunni neighbourhood of Dora, in Rashid, killing at least five people.

Later, 21 people were killed by a car bomb in a crowded outdoor market in Sadr City. A separate bomb attack, in a restaurant, killed nine others.

No group has claimed responsibility for the last three attacks, but experts say they all carry the hallmarks of IS.

Image copyright

Image caption

IS claimed responsibility for the Shaab attack

Image copyright

Image caption

The third bombing hit a crowded market in the mainly Shia district of Sadr City

The militants were also behind three car bombings in Baghdad on Friday, which left 93 people dead, and an assault on a natural gas plant north of the city on Sunday that left at least 14 people dead.

A shift in strategy? By Jim Muir, BBC News, Baghdad

Iraqi officials and the Western coalition fighting IS believe the militants are turning increasingly to bombs in civilian areas, because they are losing ground on the battlefield.

In the latest campaign to push them back, Iraqi government troops with allied militias and coalition air support say they are pressing in on Rutba, a town in the far west of the country which was captured by IS two years ago.

But the militants are still hitting back.

On Sunday they carried out an attack on a natural gas bottling plant just to the north of Baghdad, starting a battle that lasted several hours.

The attacks come with Iraq locked in a political crisis, with parliament resisting attempts to reshuffle the cabinet as part of an anti-corruption drive.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has warned the deadlock is hampering the fight against IS, which still controls large swathes of northern and western Iraq.

Recent IS attacks

Image copyright

11 May 2016: Car bombs in Baghdad kill 93 people, including 64 in market in Shia district of Sadr City

1 May 2016: Two car bombs kill at least 33 people in southern city of Samawa

26 March 2016: Suicide attack targets football match in central city of Iskandariya, killing at least 32

6 March 2016: Fuel tanker blown up at checkpoint near central city of Hilla, killing 47

28 February 2016: Twin suicide bomb attacks hit market in Sadr City, killing 70

comments powered by Disqus