BAGHDAD // A suicide bomber blew up his explosives-laden car on Sunday in a bustling commercial area in the Iraqi capital, killing at least 12 civilians and wounding others in the latest in a recent bout of violence admitted by ISIL.
Interior ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan said a member of the security forces spotted the car bomber and opened fire, but was unable to prevent him from detonating his vehicle outside the Jamila wholesale market in Baghdad’s sprawling Shiite district of Sadr City.
A police colonel and a hospital official said at least 12 people were killed and 39 wounded. Brig Gen Maan said the soldier who opened fire on the attacker was among the wounded.
ISIL issued an online statement admitting to the attack, using a nom de guerre indicating the bomber was Iraqi and saying that he targeted members of Iraq’s Shiite majority.
ISIL claimed an attack on January 2 — also in Sadr City — when a suicide bomber blew up a vehicle packed with explosives among a crowd of day labourers waiting for work, which killed 35 people.
Commercial and public areas are among the militants’ most frequent targets as they seek to undermine public confidence in the government’s ability to maintain security.
Baghdad has been the scene of near daily bomb attacks claimed by ISIL in what is seen as an attempt to distract attention as the militants cede territory along front lines in northern and western Iraq.
The attack came a day after Iraqi government troops made fresh progress in their push to retake Mosul, dislodging militants from new areas and for the first time approaching the Tigris River that divides the city.
Iraq’s second-largest city fell to ISIL in the summer of 2014 as the militants swept over much of the country’s north and central areas.
* Agence France-Presse