Baghdad blast 'kills 18' in Shia district of Sadr City

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Iraqi security forces gather at the site of a suicide car bomb attack in the eastern Habibiya neighbourhood of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017.Image source, AP
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Wednesday's attack targeted the Sadr City area of Baghdad

At least 18 people have been killed in a bomb attack on a predominantly Shia suburb of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, security sources say.

A suicide bomber detonated a vehicle in Sadr City, targeting a busy street full of garages and used-car dealers.

At least 42 people were also wounded in the attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State group.

Baghdad saw a wave of deadly suicide attacks in the first few days of 2017, but the number has dropped recently.

The IS group has stepped up its attacks since the Iraqi army, aided by US-led coalition strikes, launched its campaign to dislodge the group from its stronghold of Mosul in the north four months ago.

Wednesday's attack targeted the Habibya area of Sadr City, north of the centre of the Iraqi capital, an interior ministry official told AFP.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The attack targeted the Habibya district of Sadr City

The blast follows a car bomb attack in southern Baghdad on Tuesday that killed four people.

On 2 January, 35 people were killed in a bomb blast in Sadr City, in an attack claimed by IS.

Iraq's capital has also been hit by violent protests in recent days by supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who are demanding changes to the electoral commission that oversees elections.

At least six people were killed in clashes with police on Sunday.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Dozens of people were also wounded in the blast