Reports say the Islamic State has assumed responsibility for two bombings Thursday, one in Iraq and one in Pakistan, that each took the lives of dozens of people.
The car bombing in Baghdad killed at least 48 people and wounded nearly 50 others. The bomb exploded in Baghdad’s southwestern al-Bayaa neighborhood shortly before sunset.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it targeted “a gathering of Shias.”
The suicide bomber in Pakistan detonated an explosive in a world-famous shrine, killing at least 70 people, police say, in addition to another 250 others wounded, as reported by the BBC.
‘At least 39’ killed by Baghdad car bomb https://t.co/XTKjr7c9Sb
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) February 16, 2017
The explosion targeted a group of worshipers at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in the town of Sehwan, according to senior police officer Rashad Hayat.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has vowed to fight the militants who have carried out attacks.
“The past few days have been hard, and my heart is with the victims,” he said in a statement. “But we can’t let these events divide us, or scare us. We must stand united in this struggle for the Pakistani identity, and universal humanity.”
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— AFP news agency (@AFP) February 16, 2017
The attack in Baghdad occurred less than a day after a separate car bomb killed five and wounded at least 20 in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood called Habibiya, according to Saad Maan, spokesman for Baghdad’s Operations Command.
Over the weekend, protests in Baghdad also turned violent. One police officer was killed and seven others were wounded in conflicts between supporters of Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Thursday’s blast was the deadliest to hit Baghdad since a huge truck bomb attack claimed by IS set two shopping arcades in the Karrada district on fire and killed more than 320 people in July.
Since October, U.S.-backed Iraqi troops have engaged in an intense operation to regain the ISIS hub of Mosul in northern Iraq.
Iraqi military forces have secured the eastern party of the city and are expected to advance on western Mosul in the coming days. Even so, ISIS has carried out near-daily attacks in Baghdad.
Baghdad had seen a wave of similar attacks since the start of the year, but the number had dropped until this week.
The Iraqi government has expended countless resources in its attempt to secure Baghdad. Measures have included checkpoints, blast walls and other measures, but militants have consistently found ways through.
In November, an explosion killed at least 70 people, most of them Iranian pilgrims, at a gas station south of Baghdad, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State.
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