Baghdad suicide bombings hit restaurant and market

At least 36 killed and nearly 100 wounded in explosions in central and southeast areas of the Iraqi capital.

    Separate suicide bomb attacks have killed at least 36 people and injured at least 94 in Baghdad, hours before the city's longtime curfew was set to come to an end.

    In the first incident on Saturday, a suicide bomber detonated explosives inside a restaurant in the predominantly Shia neighbourhood of Jididah, killing at least 23 people and wounding 49 more, police said.

    In the second incident, a suicide bomber detonated explosives in a busy commercial street in the Al-Shurjah market, killing 13 and injuring another 45, police said.

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but suicide bombings are a tactic often used by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

    The attacks come ahead of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's decision to lift Baghdad's longtime curfew beginning at midnight on Sunday.

    Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf, reporting from Baghdad, said there was an upbeat mood in the capital.

    "The curfew will be lifted. For the first time in more than ten years people will not have to rush home at midnight," Arraf said.

    Lifting the curfew is a major change to a longstanding policy aimed at curbing violence in the capital by limiting movement at night.

    Abadi ordered the move earlier this week, to return "normal life as much as possible, despite the existence of a state of war," his spokesman said.

    Baghdad has remained relatively calm amid a rampage in northern and western Iraq by ISIL.

    The group spearheaded an offensive in June last year that overran Iraq's second city Mosul and then swept through much of the country's Sunni Arab heartland including three major cities.

    Iraqi soldiers and police, Kurdish forces, Shia militias and Sunni tribesmen have succeeded in regaining some ground from ISIL. But large parts of the country remain under the group's control.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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