Iraq: At least 8 killed in suicide blast in al-Rashidiya


A suicide car bomber hit a police checkpoint on Wednesday, killing at least eight people in a Baghdad district that was struck by a deadly attack the day before, Iraqi officials said.

Six civilians and two policemen were killed when the bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into the checkpoint in the Shia-dominated northeastern al-Rashidiya district, a police officer said. Up to 23 other people were wounded, he added.

A medical official confirmed the casualties. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they are not authorised to talk to the media.

On Tuesday, at least 12 people were killed in a suicide car bombing at an outdoor vegetable and fruit market in the district.

No group has claimed responsibility for the two attacks, which bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State (IS) . The Sunni extremists, who consider Shias heretics, swept across northern and western Iraq in the summer of 2014, capturing large chunks of territory and plunging the country into its worst crisis since US troops left at the end of 2011.

With territorial losses in the country’s west and north, the group has increased attacks in past months beyond front lines in an attempt to distract security forces attention. It was behind two large-scale attacks last week that killed around 300 people.

One of the two IS attacks was a massive truck bombing in Baghdad’s bustling commercial area of Karada, also a predominantly Shia neighbourhood, where 292 people — the deadliest single bombing in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion. And last Thursday, an attack at a Shiite shrine north of Baghdad killed 37 people.

Wednesday’s bombing comes on the eve of a military-run event and parade planned for Thursday in Baghdad as the country marks the anniversary of its 1958 overthrow of a Hashemite monarchy and the declaration of Iraq as a republic.