27 killed in suicide car bombings in Iraq

27 killed in suicide car bombings in Iraq

At least 27 people have been killed and dozens injured in two suicide car bombings in Iraq.

The first attack targeted a commercial area of a Shiite neighbourhood in Baghdad, leaving at least 15 civilians dead, while 12 more people died in a blast at an army checkpoint in the town of Taji, about 12 miles north of the capital.

Police said the explosion in the New Baghdad district of the capital also wounded up to 35 civilians. Officials said the explosives-laden car was parked in a crowded area and the toll could rise.

Islamic State claimed the attack in a statement on a militant website commonly used by the extremist group, saying it targeted Shiite militia members.

The attack in Taji killed seven civilians and five troops when the bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into an Iraqi army checkpoint. At least 28 people were wounded.

Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures.

IS, a Sunni extremist group, often targets Iraq's Shiite majority. Baghdad has seen near-daily attacks in recent weeks, though the mainly Shiite area of southern Iraq has been spared much of the violence.

The attacks in Baghdad and beyond are seen by Iraqi officials as an attempt by the militants to distract the security forces' attention from the front lines. The attacks came a day after Iraqi special forces pushed into the IS-held city of Fallujah in a large-scale military operation launched last month.

Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, is one of the last major IS strongholds in western Iraq.

The extremist group still controls territory in the country's north and west, as well as Mosul, Iraq's second largest city.

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