At least 19 killed in 2 Baghdad attacks
Two suicide bomb attacks in separate market places in Baghdad claimed the lives of at least 19 people yesterday.
A suicide bomber targeted Baghdad’s main vegetable market killing at least 12 people in the latest attack claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Iraqi forces have pushed ISIL out of much of the territory it once held inside the country and in Mosul, which they try to liberate from the jihadists, but this bombing and the many others that have preceded it highlight the danger the jihadists can pose to civilians even as they lose ground.
“A soldier at the gate of Jamila market opened fire on a suicide car bomb after noticing a suspect vehicle but the terrorist blew up his car,” Iraq, Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan said, according to AFP.
A police colonel and a hospital official said at least 12 people were killed and 39 wounded. Maan said the soldier who opened fire on the attacker was among the wounded.
Jamila is the main wholesale vegetable market in Baghdad and lies in Sadr City, a vast, mostly Shiite neighborhood in the northeast of the capital which has been repeatedly targeted. ISIL issued an online statement claiming the attack, using a nom de guerre indicating the bomber was Iraqi and saying that he targeted members of Iraq’s Shiite Muslim majority, whom the jihadists consider heretics.
Another suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded marketplace in eastern Baghdad, the Baladiyat district, killing at least seven people and wounding over a dozen others, police and medical sources said, according to Reuters.
The attack in the mainly Shi’ite district of Baladiyat was the second bomb attack to hit the Iraqi capital on Sunday.
ISIL claimed an attack on Jan. 2, also in Sadr City, when a suicide bomber blew up a vehicle packed with explosives among a crowd of day laborers waiting for work, killing 35 people.
The jihadists overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in a swift 2014 offensive that swept through security forces unprepared for the assault.
On Oct. 17, 2016, Iraqi forces launched a massive operation to recapture Mosul, now the country’s last city in which ISIL holds significant ground.
Iraqi forces punched into the city from the east, retook a series of neighborhoods, and are now approaching the Tigris River, which divides the city into its eastern and western sides.
The western side, which is the smaller but more densely populated of the two, remains entirely under ISIL control.
Iraqi forces have also launched an operation to recapture ISIL-held towns near the Syrian border in Anbar province that along with Mosul and the northern town of Tal Afar are among the last populated areas under jihadist control.