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Iraq: At least 50 killed in market explosion

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A car bomb in a predominantly Shia district of the Iraqi capital has killed at least 50 people and wounded at least 100 others, police sources told Al Jazeera.

A 4WD vehicle packed with explosives blew up near a beauty salon in a bustling market at rush hour in Baghdad’s Sadr City on Wednesday.

Most of the victims were women, Iraqi police and hospital sources told Reuters news agency.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL, also known as ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on social media shortly after the blast.

The group said the assault was carried out by a suicide bomber, a claim Iraqi officials denied.

There are fears that the death toll will rise further.

In the last two weeks, ISIL has claimed responsibility for two attacks targeting the Shia community in Baghdad.

First, a car bomb, targeting an open-air market frequented by Shia in Nahrawan near the Iraqi capital, killed at least 23 people and injured 38 others.

Two days later, a car bombing targeting Shia pilgrims commemorating the death anniversary of a revered 8th-century imam killed at least 18 people.

In February, ISIL also claimed a twin suicide bombing in Sadr City that killed 70 people.

According to the UN, at least 741 Iraqis were killed in April owing to ongoing violence, a sharp decline from the previous month.

In its monthly report issued on May 1, the UN mission to Iraq put the number of civilians killed at 410, while the rest were members of the security forces. A total of 1,374 Iraqis were wounded that month, it added.

In March, at least 1,119 people were killed and 1,561 wounded.

Baghdad remains the worst-hit area in terms of documented deaths, with 232 civilians killed and 642 wounded in April.

The fight against ISIL has exacerbated a long-running sectarian conflict in Iraq, mostly between the Shia majority and the Sunni minority.

Sectarian tensions also threaten to undermine efforts to dislodge ISIL from vast areas of the north and west of Iraq that they seized in 2014.

[Source: Al Jazeera]
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