Is­lamic State group claims re­spon­si­bil­ity for Bagh­dad mall at­tack

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The Is­lamic State group claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the Bagh­dad mall at­tack that killed 18 peo­ple on Mon­day. Gun­men stormed into the Jawhara Mall af­ter set­ting off a car bomb and launch­ing a sui­cide at­tack at its en­trance.

Iraqi of­fi­cials say the at­tack which lasted over an hour, killed at least 18 peo­ple and wounded 50 in the city’s mainly Shi­ite east.

The IS state­ment, posted on­line shortly af­ter the at­tack, said a car bomb and four IS fight­ers car­ried out the at­tack, tar­get­ing an area where many Shi­ite Mus­lims are known to gather and warned of ``worse’’ to come. Iraqi of­fi­cials say the at­tack was car­ried out by seven men, one of whom died when he det­o­nated his ex­plo­sive vest at the start of the at­tack. The con­flict­ing ac­counts could not im­me­di­ately be rec­on­ciled.

Iraqi of­fi­cials ini­tially de­scribed the at­tack as a hostage sit­u­a­tion, es­ti­mat­ing that 50 peo­ple were trapped in­side the com­plex. But Iraqi forces soon sur­rounded the build­ing and landed troops on the roof. They clashed with the at­tack­ers in­side, killing two of them, and ar­rest­ing the other four.

At least four po­lice of­fi­cers were among those killed in the as­sault, which lasted around an hour and a half, ac­cord­ing to po­lice and med­i­cal of­fi­cials, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to brief re­porters.

Fol­low­ing the at­tack, au­thor­i­ties shut down the city’s highly for­ti­fied Green Zone, home to a num­ber of for­eign em­bassies and most of the coun­try’s political elite. A num­ber of ma­jor roads, shop­ping malls and bridges around the Iraqi cap­i­tal were also closed for fear of fol­low-up at­tacks.

Also on Mon­day evening, a car bomb in south­east Bagh­dad in a crowded mar­ket area killed five and wounded 12, ac­cord­ing to hos­pi­tal and po­lice of­fi­cials.

An­other deadly at­tack was car­ried out in the town of Muq­dadiyah, about 60 miles (90 kilo­me­tres) north of Bagh­dad in

AP PHOTO

Peo­ple gather in front of the mall in Bagh­dad, Iraq, Mon­day.

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