A suicide bomber driving a car killed at least 19 people and wounded 48 others on Saturday in an attack claimed by Islamic State on a group of Shi’ite Muslim pilgrims in a southeastern suburb of Baghdad, Iraqi police sources said.
A second explosion near a Shi’ite militia checkpoint in the Dora district of the capital killed two and wounded three others, police sources said.
Said a combatant in the Nahrawan district had driven a truck loaded into the assembly of Shi’ite pilgrims with three tonnes of explosives. They had been heading to the Imam Kadhim shrine of Baghdad to commemorate the 8th century death of one of the senior figures of Shi’ite Islam.
Security has slowly improved in Baghdad, which was the objective of daily bombings a decade ago, but attacks against both security forces and civilians are still not infrequent.
Also on Saturday Islamic State militants launched an offensive near the northern town of Baiji, which Shi’ite militia fighters and Iraqi forces recaptured months past along with a big oil refinery devastated by the battle.
In the first set of strikes on Friday evening near Siniya west of Baiji, Islamic State seized four security checkpoints, according to sources in Salahuddin operations command. The militants used car bombs, wounding 12 others and killing 11 members of the security forces.