Dozens Dead in Twin Bombing Attacks in Baghdad Market

BAGHDAD (AP) -
People gather at the site of suicide blasts in Baghdad's Sadr City February 28, 2016. The death toll from two suicide blasts in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City rose to 24 with more than 60 others wounded, police and medical sources said on Sunday. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People gather at the site of the suicide blasts in Baghdad’s Sadr City, Sunday. (Reuters/Wissm al-Okili)

Terrorists attacked an outdoor market on Sunday in eastern Baghdad, killing at least 59 people and wounding nearly 100, officials said.

Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the attacks in Baghdad’s Shiite Sadr City district.

In a statement circulated online, IS said that two suicide bombers had carried out the attack, killing and wounding “hundreds of polytheist rejectionists,” as the ultra-hardline Sunni group refers to Shiite Muslims.

A bomb ripped through the crowded Mredi market, a police officer said. Minutes later, a suicide bomber blew himself up amid the crowd that had gathered at the site of the first bombing.

This attack was the deadliest in a wave of recent explosions that have targeted commercial areas in and outside Baghdad.

In the town of Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad, three shoppers were killed and 10 wounded in a bomb explosion, another police officer said. Four others were killed in a separate bomb attack in Baghdad’s southern Dora neighborhood, he added. No one immediately claimed responsibility for those attacks, though they bore the hallmarks of the IS group, which controls key areas in northern and western Iraq and targets government forces, civilians, and especially Shiites.

The attacks came hours after security forces repelled an attack by IS terrorists on the capital’s western suburb of Abu Ghraib, officials said. In that incident, three suicide car bombers struck a security force barracks as terrorists opened fire, according to two police officers. At least 12 members of government and paramilitary security forces were killed and 35 wounded, they added. Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information. The clashes also left a silo on fire.

The commander of military operations in western Baghdad, Maj. Gen Saad Harbiya, said the situation is “under control” and a local curfew has been imposed.

Abu Ghraib, about 18 miles from downtown Baghdad, is the location of a prison of the same name where U.S. troops committed notorious abuses against Iraqi detainees following the 2003 invasion. Citing the unstable security situation in the surrounding area, Iraqi authorities closed the prison in April 2014. It is halfway between Baghdad and Fallujah, which is controlled by the IS group. Security forces prevented IS from seizing Abu Ghraib when the terrorists swept across northern and western Iraq in the summer of 2014.