Deadly bomb blasts rip through central Baghdad

Nearly 20 people have been killed in multiple bomb blasts in a busy market in the Iraqi capital, police said. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Iraqis look at the aftermath following a double blast in a busy market area in Baghdad's Sinak neighborhoodIraqis look at the aftermath following a double blast in a busy market area in Baghdad’s Sinak neighborhood

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At least 19 people have been killed and 38 others wounded on Saturday when two bombs exploded in a busy market in central Baghdad, according to Iraqi police.

Baghdad has been rocked by several bomb attacks in 2016, which have often left dozens killed and scores more injured.

The bombs went off near car spare parts shops in Sinak during the morning rush hour. One was triggered by a suicide bomber and another was a planted explosive, an interior ministry official told Reuters news agency.

Baghdad has been put on high alert since October, when Iraqi forces launched a military campaign to liberate Mosul from the “Islamic State” militant group.

Backed by the US-led coalition against the “Islamic State,” Kurdish forces and Shiite militias, the campaign has slowed due to fierce resistance from the militant group.

Although Raqqa in Syria is considered the militant group’s de facto capital, Mosul represents one of its most important strongholds. In June 2014, “Islamic State” leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the creation of the group’s so-called “caliphate” from Mosul.

Saturday’s attack marks the biggest in the Iraqi capital since the beginning of the Mosul operation. However, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

ls/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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