Attacks across Iraqi capital kill 15 people, wound over 50




BAGHDAD (AP) — A series of attacks across Baghdad, including one that hit a weapons warehouse and set off munitions sending a huge plume of smoke over the Iraqi capital, killed 15 people and wounded over 50 on Friday, according to Iraqi officials.

The attacks underscore the poor security situation in the Iraqi capital, which has been subject to several recent large-scale attacks, including a July shopping center bombing that killed nearly 300 people.

At least three rockets landed in eastern Baghdad, killing five people and wounding 15, police officials said.

The morning attack hit a weapons storage facility, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene. Residents said the weapons belonged to the powerful Shiite militia group Asaib Ahl al-Haq and militia members were present at the scene of the attack.

The weapons' cache blast set off munitions that were stored there, sending a huge plume of smoke over the city skyline.

In the predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Ghazaliya, a bomb struck a shopping street, killing two people and wounding eight, police said.

Two bomb attacks on fruit and vegetable markets across the city killed five people and wounded 20, officials from the Interior Ministry said.

Meanwhile, a bomb attack on a commercial area in western Baghdad killed three people and wounded eight, according to police and hospital officials.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Friday also marked the martyrdom anniversary of the ninth Shiite Imam. In Baghdad pilgrims descended on the Kadhimiya shrine in Baghdad to commemorate the day, but none of the attacks wounded pilgrims or hit near the shrine.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the Islamic State group has often said it was behind deadly bombings targeting Shiite civilians in the Iraqi capital, including the July shopping center attack.

Iraq's army has pushed IS militants out of the major cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, and the government has pledged that it will retake Mosul, the country's second largest city, from the Islamic State group by the end of this year.

Late Thursday night, an attack on Iraqi security forces killed nine fighters and wounded 15, according to Karim al-Nouri, the spokesman for Iraq's government-sanctioned mainly Shiite militias, known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. He said that Shiite fighters were among the dead.

The Salaheddin Operations Command — the unit that overseas Iraqi military operations in the province where Tikrit is located — confirmed the attack.

It comes just days after Iraqi forces, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, retook a town south of the militant-held city of Mosul. Iraqi forces are conducting a number of small-scale operations around Mosul in an effort to cut IS supply lines in and out of the city.

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Associated Press writer Murtada Faraj in Baghdad contributed to this report.
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