Baghdad, Iraq. ISIS kamikaze bombers at checkpoints in Baghdad and south Iraq claimed by the Islamic State group killed at least 35 people and wounded dozens more, officials said today. It is unclear if any Americans are dead in the blasts.
The bombings, came as Iraqi forces battle ISIS in Mosul in a massive operation launched more than seven months ago to retake the country’s second city from the jihadists. In Baghdad, suicide car bombers attacked in the area of a checkpoint in the city’s southern Abu Dsheer area, killing 24 people and wounding 20, General Saad Maan said.
ISIS issued a statement claiming the attack but gave a different account of how it unfolded, saying that one militant clashed with security forces using a light weapon before detonating an explosive belt, after which a second blew up a carbomb.Security forces were able to kill one of the attackers, but the second blew up his car bomb.
Later in southern Iraq, a suicide bomber blew up an explosives-rigged vehicle at a checkpoint on the outskirts of the city of Basra, killing 11 people and wounding 30, according to Riyadh Abdulamir, the head of Basra province health department.
Another militant who left a second explosives-rigged vehicle was killed by security forces prior to detonation of his device, the Basra Operations Command said.ISIS claimed the Basra attack, but said that both bombs were successfully detonated.
The jihadist group has overran large areas north and west of Baghdad, but Iraqi forces backed by US air strikes have since recaptured much of the territory they lost previously to the jihadists.