Four separate car bombings in the Iraqi capital Baghdad have claimed at least 90 lives, police sources tell AlJazeera. Wednesday’s deadliest blast, from a 4WD vehicle packed with explosives, occurred near a beauty salon in a market at rush hour in Baghdad’s Sadr City neighbourhood, killing at least 63 people and wounding more than 100 others.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL, also known as ISIS) claimed responsibility for all of the apparently sectarian attacks on Wednesday – the year’s bloodiest day in Baghdad – in a statement on social media. ISIL said the assault in Sadr City was carried out by a suicide bomber, a claim Iraqi officials denied.
The three other car bombings later in the day rocked three separate areas of Baghdad, killing at least 27 people. They occurred at police checkpoints in the predominantly Shia districts Kadhimiyah and Hurriyah and in Jamiyah, police sources told Al Jazeera. Tolls for all attacks are expected to rise. Elsewhere in Iraq, on the outskirts of Al-Baghdadi in Anbar province, at least 15 Iraqi soldiers were killed and more than 40 wounded in another ISIL suicide attack.
The Sunni fighters blew up several cars as Iraqi government forces drew closer to ISIL-held territories. The Iraqi army recently announced a military operation to recapture the town, which fell to ISIL in 2014. In the past two weeks, ISIL has claimed responsibility for two attacks targeting the Shia community in and around Baghdad. First, a car bomb, targeting an open-air market frequented by Shia Iraqis in Nahrawan, near Baghdad, killed at least 23 people and injured 38 others.