Nighttime, early morning bombings in Baghdad kill 27

Ivan Schwartz
May 31, 2017

A auto bombing killed at least nine people in the Iraqi capital on Tuesday morning, just hours after 15 died in a massive explosion outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad that was claimed by the Islamic State group.

Graphic content / Iraqis gather at the site of a vehicle bomb explosion near Baghdad's Al-Shuhada Bridge on May 30, 2017 which killed at least five people and wounded 17, security and medical officials said.There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but the Islamic State group carries out frequent bombings targeting civilians in the Iraqi capital.

The attack came just days into the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims fast during daylight hours.

ISIS issued statements claiming the ice cream shop blast and a later bombing, saying both were suicide vehicle bombings targeting members of Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority, whom the group considers heretics.

Images and footage posted on social media showed the devastating impact of the blast, which ripped through the crowded area around Al-Faqma ice cream shop in the Karrada district of central Baghdad, scattering rubble across the street.

One picture showed ice cream cups scattered on the blood-stained ground.

Brett McGurk, the US Special Envoy of the worldwide coalition in Syria and Iraq, condemned the attack. But he reiterated the chain of command in the fight against the group known as ISIS or ISIL in Iraq runs through Baghdad, and all participants in that fight needed to respect that fact, he said during Tuesday's briefing at the Pentagon.

"This will be the first step to the liberation of the entire border", said Ahmad al-Asadi, a spokesman for the Iranian-backed militia.

Later Tuesday, seven people died and 19 were wounded in four separate bombings in and around Baghdad, officials said.

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The move comes after a push by the government-sanctioned forces to retake a number of small villages and key supply lines from the Islamic State militant group in the vast deserts west of Mosul.

But the territory is connected with land held by US -backed Syrian Kurdish groups on the Syrian side, who are more focused on fighting Islamic State than Assad.

She spoke a day after Iraq's army said it had launched a new offensive to take the militant zones on the western side of the Tigris river.

Overnight, planes dropped "thousands of leaflets on the Old Mosul, Al Zinjili, Al Shifaa and Al Saha areas urging citizens to leave toward our security forces", it said.

Mohsen said that ISIS's loss of sites it used to produce mortar rounds and explosives means the jihadists are now running low and mainly relying on "snipers and suicide bombers" to target Iraqi forces.

Al-Nouri said the surrounding villages have already been taken from IS.

"We are deeply concerned that right now, in the last final stages of the campaign to retake Mosul, that the [Daesh] areas are probably at graver risk now than at any other stage of the campaign", said Grande. The attacks targeted commercial areas and a patrol of Sunni anti-IS tribal fighters, they said.

According to information received by the United Nations from families who have managed to flee, conditions in Daesh-held Mosul are increasingly dire.

By AFP's Salam Faraj in Baghdad; Simon Valmary in Mosul.

Other reports by GizPress

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