A parked motorcycle exploded at 3:30 p.m. at the Mredy market, in the Sadr City district of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital. Shortly afterward, a suicide bomber exploded a device as bystanders tended to the victims of the first attack. At least 42 people were killed and another 95 wounded in the two attacks, according to a police officer who requested anonymity.
In a statement posted online, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they had been carried out by two suicide bombers. “Our swords will not stop slaughtering the heads of apostates wherever they are,” the statement said.
Mohammed Al-Kaaby, 45, an explosives expert in the army who witnessed the attacks, described seeing “lightning followed by a huge explosion” and then “people’s bodies and blood all over the place.”
He added that he was used to defusing bombs set by the Islamic State, but that the bombs on Sunday were the biggest he had seen.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, in a Facebook post, said the attacks were in response to a series of setbacks for the Islamic State on the battlefield. “They will not stop us,” he said.
The Sunni militants of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, maintain control of a vast territory in the north and west of the country, but they have been able to target Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad with regular bombings.
The bombings followed attacks earlier Sunday by the Islamic State on army facilities in Abu Ghraib. A group of 20 Islamic State fighters took control of a grain silo in Abu Ghraib, 18 miles west of Baghdad, and attacked a nearby army base, killing six soldiers and wounding more than 14.
A counterterrorism force sent from Baghdad killed all of the Islamic State attackers after a daylong battle, according to Sabah al-Numani, a spokesman for the force, the Counter Terrorism Service.
Abu Ghraib is close to areas that connect with Islamic State-controlled territory in Anbar Province, through which the militants made their attack early Sunday. “The security forces weren’t expecting an attack this big,” Mr. al-Numani said. (New York Times)