Wave of bombings in Baghdad kill 69

Wave of bombings in Baghdad kill 69

 A wave of bombings struck outdoor markets and a restaurant in Shiite-dominated neighborhoods of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 69 people, officials said the latest in a string of attacks in and around the Iraqi capital that have left more than 200 dead in the past week.

The four separate bombings were a further challenge to the beleaguered government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is struggling to prove that his forces can maintain security in Baghdad and elsewhere.

One of the bombings Tuesday struck an outdoor market in the heavily Shiite district of Sadr City, a frequent bombing target.

In the wake of the blast, influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose support runs deep in the district named after his father, issued a statement Tuesday to his followers, saying the attacks "are the clearest evidence that your government has become unable to protect and provide you with security."

Fighters with al-Sadr's militia, Saraya Salam, deployed to the streets of Sadr city following the bombing, another indication of a lack of confidence in Iraq's official security forces.
In an online statement, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility only for the deadliest bombing of the day, which took place in Baghdad's northeastern Shaab neighborhood and where at least 34 people were killed and 75 others were wounded.

In that attack, a roadside bomb first exploded outside the concrete blast walls surrounding an open-air market, followed by a suicide bomber who blew himself up as people gathered to help the victims of the first explosion, a police officer said.

The IS statement said the attack was carried out by an Iraqi who targeted members of Shiite militias. The Associated Press could not verify the authenticity of the statement but it was posted on a militant website commonly used by extremists.

Later in the afternoon today, a suicide car bombing hit a crowded outdoor market in Sadr City, killing 18 people and wounding 35 others. Sadr City has been one of the worst-hit districts as the Islamic State group has increasingly employed terrorist attacks against Iraqi civilians far from frontline fighting.

The attack came less than a week after a massive truck bomb in a crowded market here killed more than 60 and wounded over 80 on May 11.

Al-Sadr led anti-government protests last month that peaked with the breaching of the Green Zone, the highly fortified compound in the heart of Baghdad that's home to many ministries and foreign embassies.

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