BAQUBA: Three explosions, two of them suicide bombings, killed at least 33 people near Baquba, the capital of Iraq’s restive eastern province of Diyala on Monday, police and medics said.
The blasts targeted mostly Shia areas and came less than a month after a massive suicide attack left at least 120 dead in Khan Bani Saad, which is also in Diyala.
The deadliest of Monday’s bombings was in an area called Huwaydir. Security sources and medics at the main hospital in Baquba said at least 20 people were killed there and 45 wounded.
“A suicide bomber driving a booby-trapped vehicle blew himself up in the middle of the central market area in Huwaydir,” a police lieutenant-colonel said.
Another suicide bomber drove his explosives-laden vehicle past a checkpoint before blowing himself up in Kanaan district, killing at least 10 and wounding the same number, a police captain said.
An improvised explosive device also went off in a neighbourhood between Baquba and Huwaydir, killing three and wounding four, the same source said.
The self-styled Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the string of bombings on Monday that killed at least 33 people and wounded many more in the eastern Iraqi city of Baquba.
The group, which controls large swathes of the country’s north and west, said in a statement circulated online by supporters that the target was “rejectionists”, as the radical Sunni militants refer to Shia Muslims.
It was not immediately clear how many of the victims were civilians.
Following the July 17 bombing in Khan Bani Saad, the provincial authorities had tightened security across the province, especially in Baquba which lies about 70 kilometres north of Baghdad.
The Khan Bani Saad blast came on the eve of the end of the holy fasting month of Ramazan and shocked the nation.
Baghdad announced in January that Iraqi forces had “liberated” Diyala, a religiously and ethnically mixed province which was partly overrun by IS after the jihadists launched a brutally effective offensive last June.
The jihadists no longer have fixed positions in the province, but have reverted to their old tactics of planting car bombs and carrying out suicide operations or hit-and-run attacks.