ISIS bomb­ing at­tacks kill more than 70 in Iraq

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - QASSIM AB­DUL-ZAHRA

The Is­lamic State group at­tacked a bat­tal­ion of state-spon­sored mili­tia south­east of Tikrit on Fri­day, killing at least eight mili­tia mem­bers, an in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial said.

ISIS claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack in a state­ment posted by its Aa­maq news agency. The state­ment said ISIS fight­ers had struck the 9th Bat­tal­ion of the Pop­u­lar Mo­bi­liza­tion Forces, “killing its com­man­der and 13 sol­diers.”

The state­ment also said that ISIS fight­ers blew up the bat­tal­ion’s head­quar­ters and other nearby po­si­tions and de­stroyed two Humvees that had ar­rived to as­sist the bat­tal­ion. The Is­lamic State of Iraq and the Le­vant is known as ISIS or ISIL.

The in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity as he was not au­tho­rized to brief re­porters.

The Pop­u­lar Mo­bi­liza­tion Forces are state-spon­sored mili­tias, largely com­prised of Shi­ite Mus­lims, bat­tling ISIS across the coun­try.

Also on Fri­day, a po­lice of­fi­cer and med­i­cal sources said the death toll from a car­bomb at­tack in a south­ern Bagh­dad neigh­bour­hood has reached 59 with 66 oth­ers in­jured.

Au­thor­i­ties ini­tially said the Thurs­day night at­tack at an auto deal­er­ship in the alBayaa neigh­bour­hood killed at least 55 and wounded more than 60. The Is­lamic State group claimed credit for the bomb­ing.

The po­lice of­fi­cer and med­i­cal per­son­nel spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to brief re­porters.

ISIS, in a state­ment early Fri­day, said its fight­ers det­o­nated bombs in a parked car among a gath­er­ing of Shi­ites in the Fifth Po­lice dis­trict Thurs­day. It did not give fur­ther de­tails.

The ex­trem­ist group has car­ried out near­daily at­tacks in Bagh­dad de­spite suf­fer­ing mil­i­tary set­backs else­where in the coun­try, in­clud­ing in the north­ern city of Mo­sul, where U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have been wag­ing a ma­jor op­er­a­tion since Oc­to­ber.

The spir­i­tual leader of Iraq’s Shi­ites, Grand Ay­a­tol­lah Ali al-Sis­tani, ex­pressed his con­do­lences for the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies and called on those “re­spon­si­ble for de­ci­sion­mak­ing to rec­og­nize their re­spon­si­bil­ity to pre­serve se­cu­rity.”

His com­ments were de­liv­ered at Fri­day prayers by his rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Ahmed al-Safi, in the holy city of Kar­bala.

The U.S. State Depart­ment con­demned the bomb­ing, say­ing such at­tacks show the ex­trem­ist group’s “ut­ter con­tempt for hu­man life and its ef­forts to sow dis­cord and di­vi­sion among the Iraqi peo­ple.”

U.N. Deputy Spokesman for the Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Farhan Haq too con­demned the at­tack in a state­ment is­sued Fri­day.

An­other four at­tacks in and around Bagh­dad on Thurs­day killed eight peo­ple and wounded around 30, au­thor­i­ties said.

The bomb at­tacks claimed by ISIS are seen as an at­tempt to dis­tract at­ten­tion as the mil­i­tants cede ter­ri­tory along front lines in north­ern and west­ern Iraq.


Civil­ians in­spect the af­ter­math of a car-bomb at­tack in an auto deal­er­ship in the south­west­ern al-Bayaa neigh­bour­hood, Bagh­dad, Iraq, on Fri­day.

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