At least 13 people have been killed after a shopping street in the heart of the Iraqi capital hit by explosions whose death toll is expected to rise, according to the army.
A rare double suicide bombing killed at least 13 people on a busy shopping street in the heart of Baghdad on Thursday, the military said, breaking months of relative calm.
Brigadier General Hazem al-Azzawi, director of the Baghdad operations command, told the Iraqi News Agency (INA) that a “double explosion” struck a crowded market in the Bab al-Sharji neighborhood near from Tayaran Square.
The Iraqi Joint Operations Command said 19 other people were also injured, calling it a “preliminary toll”.
Medical sources told AFP news agency that they feared the death toll was twice as high as officially announced. The health ministry said it had mobilized medics across the capital to respond to the deadly attack.
Military spokesman Yahya Rasool said two suicide bombers detonated their explosives as they were pursued by security forces.
An AFP reporter at the scene said the bombings hit a huge open-air second-hand clothing market in Tayaran Square.
After years of deadly sectarian violence following the 2003 US invasion, suicide attacks have become relatively rare in the capital. The last such attack took place in June 2019 and killed several people.
Militias have regularly targeted the US presence with rocket and mortar attacks, particularly the US Embassy in the heavily fortified Green Zone. The pace of attacks has slowed since an informal truce was declared by Iranian-backed armed groups in October.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack immediately, but the suicide bombings were mostly used by ISIS (ISIS).
Iraq declared ISIS defeated at the end of 2017 after a fierce three-year campaign. But the group’s sleeper cells continued to operate in desert and mountainous areas, typically targeting security forces or state infrastructure with low casualty attacks.