At­tacks in and around Bagh­dad kill at least 17

Business Mirror - - THE WORLD -

BAGH­DAD— Mil­i­tants un­leashed a wave of at­tacks tar­get­ing com­mer­cial ar­eas in and around Bagh­dad on Mon­day, killing at least 17 peo­ple, of­fi­cials said, as Iraqi troops poised to re­cap­ture the Is­lamic State ( IS)- held city of Fal­lu­jah, west of Iraq’s cap­i­tal.

No one im­me­di­ately claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tacks, which bore the hall­marks of the ex­trem­ist IS, which has been be­hind re­cent deadly at­tacks in Bagh­dad and be­yond. Such at­tacks are seen as an at­tempt by the mil­i­tants to dis­tract the se­cu­rity forces’ at­ten­tion away from the front lines.

The dead­li­est of Mon­day’s at­tacks took place in the north­ern, Shi­ite- dom­i­nated Shaab neigh­bor­hood of Bagh­dad, where a sui­cide bomber rammed his ex­plo­sives­laden car into a check­point next to a com­mer­cial area, killing five civil­ians and three sol­diers.

The ex­plo­sion also wounded up to 14 peo­ple, a po­lice of­fi­cer said.

A sui­cide car bomber struck an out­door mar­ket in the town of Tarmiyah, about 50 kilo­me­ters north of Bagh­dad, killing four civil­ians and two po­lice­men, an­other po­lice of­fi­cer said, adding that 19 peo­ple were wounded in that bomb­ing.

And in Bagh­dad’s eastern Shi­ite Sadr City district, a bomb mo­tor­cy­cle went off at a mar­ket, killing three and wound­ing 10, po­lice said. Med­i­cal of­fi­cials con­firmed ca­su­alty fig­ures. All of­fi­cials spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity as they were not au­tho­rized to re­lease in­for­ma­tion.

The at­tacks came amid a key Iraqi mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion to dis­lodge IS mil­i­tants and re­take Fal­lu­jah, which has been in IS hands for over two years. The op­er­a­tion was launched a week ago, with Iraqi forces team­ing up with para­mil­i­tary troops and backed by aerial sup­port from the US- led coali­tion.

The city is one of the last ma­jor IS strongholds in west­ern Iraq. The ex­trem­ist group still con­trols ter­ri­tory in the coun­try’s north and west, as well as Mo­sul, Iraq’s sec­ond-largest city.

On Sun­day Iraqi Maj. Dhia Thamir said troops have re­cap­tured 80 per­cent of the ter­ri­tory around Fal­lu­jah since the op­er­a­tion be­gan and are cur­rently bat­tling IS to the north­east, as they seek to tighten the siege ahead of a planned fi­nal push into the city cen­ter.

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