11 killed in suicide truck bomb attack on Baghdad market

AT least 11 people have been killed in a suicide bombing at an outdoor market in Baghdad, Iraqi officials said.

A bulldozer clears the rubble caused when a suicide bomber targeted a Baghdad market. Picture: AP Photo/Karim Kadim
A bulldozer clears the rubble caused when a suicide bomber targeted a Baghdad market. Picture: AP Photo/Karim Kadim

The blast came as government forces deployed across much of the capital in preparation for a major military parade later this week.

The developments followed two large-scale attacks last week, claimed by the Islamic State group, in which more than 300 people were killed.

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On Monday, visiting US Defence Secretary Ash Carter said Washington will send 560 more troops to Iraq to help battle IS.

In Tuesday’s bombing, an explosives-laden pick-up truck blew up during the morning rush- hour at a fruit and vegetable market in the north-eastern al-Rashidiya area of Baghdad, a police officer said. The blast killed 11 people and injured up to 32 others, and also damaged several cars, he added.

A medical official confirmed the casualty figures.

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No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but it bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group.

The Sunni extremists, who consider Shiites 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.

Last week, IS killed more than 300 people in two attacks. A massive truck bomb struck a bustling commercial area in a Baghdad’s predominantly Shiite neighbourhood of Karada on Sunday July 3, killing 292 people - one of the deadliest attacks since the 2003 US-led invasion. And last Thursday, an attack at a Shiite shrine north of Baghdad killed 37 people.

Iraqi government forces deployed in most of Baghdad on Tuesday, closing off main roads and causing traffic chaos.

Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan said the troops were “practising for a planned military parade for a specific occasion.”

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He did not identify the event, but the country is due to mark the anniversary of its 1958 overthrow of a Hashemite monarchy and the declaration of Iraq as a republic on Thursday.

The recent increase in IS attacks beyond the front lines demonstrated the IS group’s ability to launch lethal attacks despite recent territorial losses in both Iraq and Syria, where it has established a self-proclaimed caliphate. IS militants still hold pockets of territory in northern and western Iraq.

According to Mr Carter, who met top Iraqi officials on Monday, the new American forces should arrive in the coming weeks. They will primarily be tasked with transforming an air base retaken this month from IS into a staging hub for the long-awaited battle to recapture Mosul - Iraq’s second-largest city - from Islamic State militants.

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