Scores killed in Isil bomb attacks on Baghdad
Published 12/05/2016 | 02:30
Scores of people have been killed in Baghdad by three bombings on the same day, as Islamic State increases its campaign of violence directed at civilians.
The first attack came during the morning, when a jeep packed with explosives exploded near a beauty salon facing on to a market in Sadr City, eastern Baghdad's sprawling working class suburb almost entirely occupied by Shia.
The blast set nearby shops on fire and left debris including the charred, twisted remains of a vehicle in the street.
The death toll from that bombing rose to at least 64 during the course of the day. The authorities said all were civilian and more than 20 were women, despite a claim of responsibility by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant which said the targets were Shia militia fighters.
The claim was carried by Amaq, the main Isil-linked news agency, and said it had been carried out by a suicide bomber it named as "Abu Sulaiman al-Ansari".
Analysts believe Isil has upped its attacks on civilian targets - both in Iraq and abroad - in response to the squeeze being applied to its territorial control by the US-led coalition, Iraqi government forces and local militias. A new report said its zone of control was now down to 14pc of Iraq's territory, down from 40pc in the summer of 2014.
Yesterday afternoon, two more bombs went off, one at the entrance to the northern suburb of Khadimiya, which is largely Shia, and one in a shopping street in the central district of Jamea, named after the Baghdad University which is nearby. At least 22 people were killed in those two attacks, with the death toll also rising fast.
The combined death toll makes yesterday the worst day this year for terrorism, particularly Isil terrorism, not only in Iraq but around the world.
The current wave of attacks also coincides with a major political crisis. Moqtada al-Sadr, the fiery nationalist cleric who led Shia fighting against Britain and America after their invasion of Iraq, is now leading protests demanding that Haider al-Abadi, the prime minister, make good his promises to reform government.
He wants to replace ministers appointed by sectarian political parties with "technocrats".
(© Daily Telegraph, London)