BAGHDAD: Militants unleashed a wave of attacks in Iraq on Thursday, mainly targeting Shia areas in and around the capital of Baghdad, killing at least 47 people and wounding dozens, authorities said.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the day’s deadliest attack.

The Sunni militant group has overrun vast areas in western and northern Iraq as well as parts of neighbouring Syria, and has vowed to destabilise and eventually take over Baghdad.

In that strike, two parked car bombs exploded simultaneously in a commercial area in the northern Dolaie neighbourhood, killing 14 civilians and wounding 34 others, a police officer said.

Angry residents in the neighbourhood threw stones at police checkpoints and police cars that arrived to respond to the blasts, prompting police to withdraw from the area. Senior Iraqi officials have tried to reassure residents that the capital is too well-protected for militants to capture, even as they struggle to stop frequent near daily deadly attacks.

The Islamic State group said the Dolaie attack targeted Iraqi soldiers and Shia militiamen allied with them. The authenticity of the claim could not be independently verified, but it was posted on websites frequently used by the group.

In the eastern neighbourhood of Talibiyah, a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a police checkpoint, killing at least 12 people, another police officer said.

The dead in that attack included seven policemen and five civilians, he added.

At least 28 other people were wounded. Six other civilians were killed and 16 wounded in another car bomb explosion on a commercial street in the northern Hurriyah district, police said.

And in the northern Shula neighbourhood, six civilians were killed and 18 wounded when mortar rounds rained down on a residential area, police added.

Islamic State fighters say they have a foothold inside Baghdad. They have claimed several large-scale bombings in the city recently, particularly in the Shia districts in Baghdad.

Shortly before sunset, police said a car bomb explosion at the Shia part of Mahmoudiya town killed seven people and wounded 12 others.

Mahmoudiya is 30 kilometres south of Baghdad.

A roadside bomb also hit an army patrol just south of Baghdad, killing two soldiers and wounding four others. Medical officials confirmed the causality figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to release information to the media.

Thursday’s explosions have brought the death toll from attacks since Sunday to at least 150 people, mostly in Baghdad.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2014

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