Militants unleashed a wave of attacks targeting commercial areas in and around Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 20 people, officials said as Iraqi troops poised to recapture the ISIS-held city of Fallujah, west of Iraq’s capital.
The attacks came amid a key Iraqi military operation to dislodge ISIS militants and retake the city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, which has been in IS hands for over two years. The operation was launched a week ago, with Iraqi forces teaming up with paramilitary troops and backed by aerial support from the U.S.-led coalition.
The deadliest of Monday’s attacks took place in the northern, Shiite-dominated Shaab neighborhood of Baghdad where a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a checkpoint next to a commercial area, killing eight civilians and three soldiers.
The explosion also wounded up to 14 people, a police officer said.
A suicide car bomber struck an outdoor market in the town of Tarmiyah, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Baghdad, killing four civilians and two policemen, another police officer said, adding that 19 people were wounded in that bombing.
And in Baghdad’s eastern Shiite Sadr City district, a bomb motorcycle went off at a market, killing three and wounding 10, police said. Medical officials confirmed casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.
In an online statement, IS claimed responsibility for the attacks in Shaab and Sadr City, saying they targeted members of Shiite militias.