About 88 persons have been reported killed with scores injured in four separate car bombings in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, sources said.
This is just as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group – ISIL, also known as ISIS – claimed responsibility for all of Wednesday’s attacks – which marked the year’s deadliest in Baghdad – in a statement on social media shortly after the blasts.
The explosions on Wednesday occurred near a beauty salon in a bustling market at rush hour in Baghdad’s Sadr City neighbourhood, killing at least 61 people and wounding more than 100 others.
The three other car bomb blasts later on Wednesday rocked three separate districts in Baghdad, killing at least 27 people, at police checkpoints in the predominantly Shia Muslim Kadhimiyah and Hurriyah districts, as well as the Jamiyah district, police sources told Al Jazeera.
Tolls for all attacks are expected to rise.
It was gathered that the driver disappeared after parking the vehicle in the market, shortly before the massive blast turned the area into an inferno.
“It was such a thunderous explosion that jolted the ground,” Karim Salih, a 45-year old grocer, told the Associated Press. “The force of the explosion threw me for meters away and I lost consciousness for a few minutes.”
Many victims were women inside a beauty salon, including several brides who appeared to be getting ready for their weddings, police sources told Reuters news agency.
Sadr City, a huge, largely Shia suburb, has frequently been the target of bomb attacks by Sunni extremists but this is one of the worst.