At least 51 people killed in Iraqi attacks

Monday 11 January 2016 23.49
The so-called Islamic State group  has claimed responsibility for the attack on a Baghdad shopping complex
The so-called Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack on a Baghdad shopping complex

At least 51 people have been killed in a series of attacks across Iraq.

18 people were killed and 40 others were wounded when gunmen detonated suicide vests inside a shopping complex in Baghdad and a car bomb exploded nearby.

The so-called Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.

A further 23 people were killed and at least 50 injured when two bombs went off in the eastern town of Muqdadiya, security and medical sources said.

Another blast in a southeastern Baghdad suburb killed seven more.

Earlier, three people were killed and eight others wounded when a car bomb claimed by IS went off near a restaurant in Baquba, 65km northeast of Baghdad, security and medical sources said.

IS militants controlling swathes of Iraq's north and west claimed responsibility for the mall attacks, which it said had targeted a gathering of "rejectionist heathens", its derogatory term for Shia Muslims.

The Iraqi govenment claimed victory against the hardline Sunni militants in the western city of Ramadi last month and have slowly pushed them back in other areas.

Today's attacks left the biggest death toll in three months.

Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan blamed "this terrorist group after they suffered heavy losses by the security forces", without naming IS.

Seven people, including two policemen, were killed in the car bomb blast near the Jawaher mall in the predominately Shia district of Baghdad Jadida, police and medical sources said.

Five more people were shot dead by the gunmen storming the mall, and six others were killed when those same assailants detonated their explosive vests, the sources said.

Police regained control of the mall, in the east of the city, and a senior security official told state television there were no hostages, rejecting reports that there had been people held.

"The security forces are at the scene and managed to recover the wounded. The situation is under control," Mr Maan added.

As well as the violence meted out by IS, Iraq is also gripped by a sectarian conflict mostly between Shias and Sunnis that has been exacerbated by the rise of the militant group.