At least 18 killed in suicide bombings at Baghdad markets

BAGHDAD • A suicide bomber targeted Baghdad's main vegetable market yesterday, killing at least 12 people in the latest attack claimed by ISIS as Iraqi forces battle the militants for Mosul.

Another suicide bomber detonated explosives at a market in the Baladiyat area of east Baghdad, killing at least six people and wounding at least 16, officials said.

Iraqi forces have pushed the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) out of much of the territory it once held, but this bombing and the many others that have preceded it highlight the danger the hardliners 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," Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan said.

A police colonel and a hospital official said that at least 12 people were killed and 39 wounded at Jamila, the main wholesale vegetable market in Baghdad which lies in Sadr City, a vast, mostly Shi'ite neighbourhood in the north-east of the capital which has been repeatedly targeted.

Mr Salam Khalaf, spokesman for a hospital in Sadr City, said that it received a headless body of a person killed in the Jamila attack who was apparently meant to be a second suicide bomber. A hospital employee accidentally detonated a small explosive charge on the dead body, blowing off a mortuary door but leaving him unharmed.

Smoke billowing from damaged vehicles and market stands at the fruit and vegetable market in Sadr City, on the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq, after an attack by an ISIS suicide bomber yesterday.
Smoke billowing from damaged vehicles and market stands at the fruit and vegetable market in Sadr City, on the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq, after an attack by an ISIS suicide bomber yesterday. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

ISIS issued an online statement claiming the attack in Sadr City, using a nom de guerre indicating the bomber was Iraqi and saying that he targeted members of Iraq's Shi'ite Muslim majority, whom the radicals consider heretics.

ISIS issued an online statement claiming the attack in Sadr City, using a nom de guerre indicating the bomber was Iraqi and saying that he targeted members of Iraq's Shi'ite Muslim majority, whom the radicals consider heretics.

The militants overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in a swift 2014 offensive that swept through security forces unprepared for the assault.

The number of bombings in the capital fell following the June 2014 offensive, apparently because the militants were occupied with holding territory they seized and later defending against Iraqi attacks.

Federal forces and units from Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region have since pushed ISIS back in a series of battles over a period of more than two years.

On Oct 17, Iraqi forces launched a massive operation to recapture Mosul, now the country's last city in which ISIS holds significant ground. Iraqi forces punched into the city from the east, retook a series of neighbourhoods, and are now approaching the Tigris River, which divides the city into its eastern and western sides.

Separately, a massive tanker truck bomb ripped through a market by a courthouse in the rebel-held Syrian town of Azaz on Saturday, killing 48 people near the Turkish border.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2017, with the headline 'At least 18 killed in suicide bombings at Baghdad markets'. Print Edition | Subscribe