Three car bombs in Baghdad have killed at least 88 people on the bloodiest day in the Iraqi capital this year,agencies report. The first blast hit a busy outdoor market during Wednesday morning’s rush hour in the northern district Sadr City, a predominantly Shiite area.
At least 63 people were killed and 82 others were wounded. Islamic State, which considers Shiite Muslims heretics, claimed responsibility. In an online statement, the group said a suicide bomber it identified as “Abu Sulaiman al-Ansari” detonated the explosives-rigged vehicle.
It was followed by a suicide blast targeting a police station in Kadhimiyah, another mostly Shiite Muslim district in the northwest of the Iraqi capital. Eighteen people were killed, including five policemen. Another 34 people were wounded.
Kadhimiya is home to an important Shiite Muslim shrine and access to the frequently targeted neighbourhood is tightly controlled. In the Jamiya neighbourhood in western Baghdad, a suicide car bombing killed seven and wounded 22 .
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the later bombs, but all such attacks recently have been carried out by IS. The UN’s top envoy in Iraq, Jan Kubis, condemned the bombings.
“These are cowardly terrorist attacks on civilians who have done nothing but going about their normal daily lives,” he said. Earlier this month, at least 18 Shia Muslim pilgrims were killed and 45 others injured by an IS car bomb in the Saydiyah neighbourhood of the Iraqi capital.
The attack also comes just days after the Pentagon announced that a senior Islamic State leader in Iraq’s Anbar province had been killed by a US airstrike. The strike targeted a vehicle carrying Abu Wahib, military emir for Anbar province and a former member of al Qaeda in Iraq.
Three other IS members were also killed in the strike, near the town of Rutba.