Car bomb kills 9 at Baghdad market; 7 die in other attacks

BAGHDAD (AP) — A car bomb tore through a Baghdad market on Thursday, killing at least nine people in what appeared to be the latest in a series of deadly attacks by the Islamic State group.

Elsewhere, four attacks in and around Baghdad killed at least seven people, bringing the day’s overall death toll to at least 16. Those attacks, mostly by bombs that went off in commercial areas or targeted security forces, also wounded at least 20 people, police and medical officials said.

In the Baghdad attack, the car was parked near an outdoor fruit and vegetable market in a mostly Shiite neighborhood of the city. Seven civilians and two policemen were among fatalities, while at least 15 other people were wounded, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks but they bore the hallmarks of IS, which has carried out a string of bombings in Baghdad over the past week, killing nearly 100 people. The Sunni extremists frequently target Iraq’s security forces and civilians in Shiite neighborhoods.

IS has managed to carry out a series of attacks across Iraq while also putting up stiff resistance in the northern city of Mosul, where U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have been waging a massive offensive since mid-October to retake the city, Iraq’s second-largest, from the militants.

Mosul, about 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, is the extremist group’s last major urban bastion in the country. Iraqi forces have retaken around a quarter of the city since the offensive began.

Iraq announced a new operation on Thursday to recapture IS-held towns near the Syrian border.

Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Mohammadi said the troops would try to dislodge IS from Rawah, Anah and Qaim, towns in the western Anbar province that fell to the extremists in the summer of 2014. U.S.-backed Iraqi forces drove IS from the two main cities of Anbar, Ramadi and Fallujah, last year.

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