Middle East

Islamic State claims bombings in Baghdad

At least 27 killed by blasts in Iraqi capital in deadliest attacks since Mosul came under Sunni group's control.

Last updated: 20 Jul 2014 08:25
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The fighting in northern and western Iraq has exacerbated a political crisis in Baghdad [Reuters]

The Islamic State group has claimed it carried out a wave of car bombs in mostly Shia areas of Baghdad which killed at least 27 people.  

In a statement on Sunday, the group said it killed and wounded 150 people in the attacks on Saturday, a figure far in excess of the state's estimate.

It named two suicide bombers involved in the attack as Abu al-Qaaqaa al-Almaani and Abu Abdul Rahman al-Shami, fake names that suggested the men were German and Syrian.

The first bombing took place in the Shia neighbourhood of Abu Dashir, where a suicide attacker drove a car packed with explosives into a checkpoint, killing at least nine people and wounding 19, officials said.

Check out our complete coverage of the crisis in Iraq

Four policemen were among the dead, a police officer said.

Later in the day, three car bombs went off in the districts of Baya, Jihad and Kadhimiyah.

Police sources told Al Jazeera that the car bomb in Kadhimiyah killed nine people and injured 20 others.

Hospital officials in Baghdad confirmed the casualty figures in all of the attacks.

Baghdad has seen few attacks compared to the violence in other areas hit by the Islamic State's offensive last month, though bombs still hit the city on a fairly regular basis.

The army and allied Shia fighters are trying to push back the Islamic State fighters who have swept through northern and western Iraq to within 70km of Baghdad.

The rebels fought off an army offensive to retake the northern city of Tikrit on Tuesday. The army was forced to pull back south of the city on the banks of the Tigris.

Islamic State's claims

Intense fighting has raged for days northwest of Tikrit around a military base known as Camp Speicher, once one of the main US headquarters.

Islamic State wrote on an affiliated Twitter feed on Thursday it had shot down two helicopters during a battle around the base.

Map: The Islamic State's (formerly ISIL) path through Iraq

The fighting has exacerbated a political crisis in Baghdad, where Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqi prime minister, is trying to form a government in the face of opposition from Sunnis, Kurds and some Shias, three months after Iraq held a parliamentary election.

Iraq's Shia leaders as well as Western powers have pressed politicians to overcome their deadlock and agree on a new unity government to help tackle the insurgency and prevent Iraq from splitting down ethnic and sectarian lines.

The civilian toll in Iraq, mainly from fighting between government forces and the Sunni-led rebels, this year has been huge.

At least 5,576 Iraqi civilians have been killed since January, when Sunni-led rebels spearheaded by an al-Qaeda offshoot now known as Islamic State, overran the city of Falluja in the western province of Anbar, the UN said on Friday.

The UN said more than 1.2 million people have been displaced this year. More than 600,000 of them have fled their homes since early June.


Al Jazeera and agencies
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