ISIL-claimed suicide bombings in Baghdad kill at least 17 civilians

The two attacks struck Shiite-dominated neighbourhoods of the Iraqi capital.
A sign that reads 'Restricted area – no entry!' is pictured at the scene of a suicide bomb attack in the Iraqi capital's New Baghdad district on September 27, 2016. Ahmed Jalil/EPA
A sign that reads 'Restricted area – no entry!' is pictured at the scene of a suicide bomb attack in the Iraqi capital's New Baghdad district on September 27, 2016. Ahmed Jalil/EPA

BAGHDAD // At least 17 civilians were killed in the Iraqi capital on Tuesday when two suicide bombings ripped through busy commercial areas of Shiite-dominated neighbourhoods.

ISIL claimed both bombings, saying they targeted Shiite militia members.

The deadliest attack took place in the eastern New Baghdad neighbourhood, where a bomber approached a gathering of construction workers and set off his explosives-laden vest, killing 11 civilians, according to a police officer. However, some said the area was hit by a roadside bomb as well as a suicide bomber.

At least 28 civilians were also wounded and nearby shops and cars were damaged.

Hours later, another suicide bomber blew himself up in an outdoor market in the southwestern neighbourhood of Bayaa, killing six shoppers and wounding 21 others, another police officer said.

ISIL and other Sunni extremists consider Shiites to be heretics, and the group often targets civilians in Shiite areas of Baghdad.

Checkpoints in the capital frequently cause massive traffic jams that inconvenience citizens, but they consistently fail to prevent attacks.

For years, most checkpoints featured fake bomb detectors that have now finally been scrapped, and guards wave most cars through unchecked.

Tuesday’s violence came two days after another suicide bombing claimed by ISIL killed six people in western Baghdad.

A day before that, bomb and gun attacks claimed by the extremist group killed 12 people in the area of Tikrit, a city north of the capital.

Iraqi forces have regained much of the territory seized by ISIL in June 2014 and are now preparing for a push on the city of Mosul – the biggest urban area still under the extremists’ control.

But the group has maintained the ability to carry out attacks in government-controlled areas even as it loses ground, and it is likely to increasingly turn to such insurgent tactics if it loses Mosul.

Iraqi officials say they plan to retake the city – which lies about 360 kilometres north-west of Baghdad – by the end of the year.

* Associated Press, Agence France-Presse

Published: September 27, 2016 04:00 AM

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