Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a series of suicide bombings that have left 39 people dead in and around the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Sky News reports. The deadliest attack happened in a commercial area of a majority Shia neighbourhood where at least 15 civilians were killed and 35 wounded.
Another blast occurred when a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into an Iraqi army checkpoint north of Baghdad. At least 12 people were killed. In another attack, in the town of Taji 12 miles north of Baghdad, seven civilians and five troops were killed, and up to 30 people were wounded.
IS were quick to claim responsibility, although the information could not be independently verified. Baghdad has seen near-daily attacks in recent weeks by the Sunni militant group.
The bombings are seen as an attempt to distract the security forces’ attention from fighting taking place on the front line. On Wednesday, Iraqi special forces pushed into the IS-held city of Fallujah as part of a large-scale military operation launched last month.
Fallujah, which is about 40 miles west of Baghdad, is one of the last major IS strongholds in western Iraq. The group still controls territory in the country’s north, including Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.