Militants claim year's deadliest attack in Baghdad

Vendors' belongings are strewn Sunday after twin suicide bombings shook a market in Sadr City, a Baghdad suburb familiar with violence.


BAGHDAD — Islamic State militants killed dozens of people in two major attacks on Baghdad on Sunday, bombing a market and assaulting security forces on the city's outskirts in a demonstration of the group's ability to disrupt the Iraqi capital even as it loses ground.

Six car bombs were used in the early-morning attack on Abu Ghraib, a neighborhood on the city's western edge where the militants seized a grain silo, Iraq's ministry of defense said. Later in the day, a double suicide bombing hit a market in the largely Shiite district of Sadr City, killing at least 28 people, Iraqi media reported.

The Abu Ghraib assault marked the most significant attack on the area in a year and came despite an ongoing operation by Iraqi security forces to push back militants from the city's western edge.

Still, the Islamic State has lost 30 percent of its territory in the country since its 2014 peak, and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday night said that the group is lashing out under pressure.

The bombing in Sadr City, following another on Thursday that hit a Shiite mosque in the Baghdad neighborhood of Shoula, "increased the resolve and determination" of Iraqi security forces, Abadi said.

In Sadr City, a frequent target for bombings, residents used vegetable carts to take the wounded from the scene, video footage showed. Many of the 28 dead were children, the ministry of defense said.

In response to the bombing in the neighborhood named after his father, the prominent cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on fighters with his militia, formerly the al-Mahdi Army but now known as the Peace Brigades, to be on standby to defend the capital.

Islamic State militants managed to hold the grain silo on the edge of Abu Ghraib for hours before Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces were called in. Maj. Gen. Saad Harbiya, a commander in the Baghdad Operations Command, said most of the attackers were foreigners, with 20 besieged in the silo at one point in the afternoon.

He said security forces suffered a "simple" number of casualties, declining to give a figure. Seventeen members of the Iraqi security forces were killed, according to Reuters. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for both attacks in statements distributed on social media.

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