At least 12 killed in suicide blast in north-west Baghdad

 Iraqi security forces gathering at the site of a suicide bombing, in Kadhimiya, a mostly Shi'ite Muslim district in Baghdad, on July 24, 2016.
Iraqi security forces gathering at the site of a suicide bombing, in Kadhimiya, a mostly Shi'ite Muslim district in Baghdad, on July 24, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

BAGHDAD (AFP, Reuters) - A suicide bomber struck near a checkpoint in a Shi'ite area of northern Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least 12 people, Iraqi security and medical officials said.  

The blast also wounded at least 22 people, the officials said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) carries out frequent suicide bombings targeting both Iraqi security forces and members of the country’s Shiite majority, whom it considers heretics.

A suicide bomber targeted shoppers in Baghdad’s central Karrada district earlier this month, killing 292 people, while an attack on a Shi'ite shrine in Balad, north of the capital, left 40 dead a few days later.  

ISIS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces have since regained significant ground and are conducting operations to set the stage for the battle to recapture Mosul, the last ISIS-held city in the country.  

But the extremists have responded to the battlefield setbacks by hitting back against civilians, and experts have warned there may be more bombings as the extremists continue to lose ground.