Deadly blasts rock Baghdad and Kirkuk

Police say at least 33 people killed in bombings in Shia districts of Iraqi capital and northern city.

The target of the Kirkuk explosion was a popular cafe in a predominantly Kurdish neighbourhood [Getty Images]

At least 33 people have been killed in bomb blasts in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and in the northern city of Kirkuk, police said.

Sixteen people were killed after two car bombs went off in the Shia Muslim Sadr district of Baghdad. The blasts happened at around 6:30pm (15:30 GMT) on Thursday in two different parts of the district.

Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf, reporting from Baghdad, said: “One of the car bombs hit Sadr district’s small street with small cafes there that were packed with people having dinner. The other one was at a crowded outdoor market.”

Later on, a roadside bomb exploded near a restaurant in Baghdad’s Shia northern neighbourhood of Shaab, killing three people and wounding 12 others, the AP news agency reported.

Medical officials confirmed the casualties. 

Kirkuk attack

Another attack took place in the city of Kirkuk, killing at least 15 people in the first major attack the northern city has witnessed in months.

“It’s a busy street with restaurants and shops, there is great destruction,” a Kirkuk police colonel said, adding that a suicide car bomb was used.

He said the target of the explosion was a popular cafe called Dawooda in the predominantly Kurdish northern neighbourhood of Shorjah.

Violence has increased in the Kirkuk region in recent weeks, as ISIL fighters are being pushed out of some of the positions they had held in the east of the country since June.

Iraq sees near-daily bombings and other attacks mainly targeting Shia neighbourhoods and security forces. The attacks are often claimed by the Sunni ISIL group which seized much of northern and western Iraq in a summer offensive.

Source: Al Jazeera, AP