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Baghdad Car Blast Kills 51, ISIS Escalates Insurgency

Baghdad Car Blast Kills 51, ISIS Escalates Insurgency
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 A car packed with explosives blew up on Thursday in southern Baghdad, killing at least 51 people and wounding 55, security and medical sources said,...

A car packed with explosives blew up on Thursday in southern Baghdad, killing at least 51 people and wounding 55, security and medical sources said, in the deadliest such attack in Iraq this year.

ISIS, which is on the defensive after losing control of eastern Mosul to a US-backed Iraqi military offensive, claimed responsibility for the bombing in an online statement.

As it cedes territory captured in a 2014 offensive across northern and western Iraq, the terrorist group has stepped up insurgent strikes on government areas, particularly in the capital Baghdad.

Security sources said the vehicle, which blew up on Thursday, was parked in a crowded street full of garages and used car dealers, in Hayy al-Shurta in the southwest of the city.

The death toll could climb further as many of the wounded are in critical condition, a doctor said.

The bombing is the second to hit car markets this week, suggesting the group has found it easier to leave vehicles laden with explosives in places where hundreds of other vehicles are parked.

A suicide bomber detonated a pick-up truck on Wednesday in the Sadr City suburb in the east of the capital, killing at least 15 people. That explosion took place in a street full of used car dealers.

US-backed Iraqi forces have dislodged ISIS from most of the cities it captured in 2014 and 2015. The outfit also control parts of Syria.

Iraqi government forces last month captured eastern Mosul and are now preparing an offensive on the western side that remains under the terrorists' control. The city is divided in two halves by the Tigris River.

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