In Iraq, police sources confirmed to Al Jazeera that a car bomb exploded today in a predominantly Shia district of the Iraqi capital and has killed at least 50 people and wounded at least 100 others.
A 4WD vehicle packed with explosives blew up near a beauty salon in a bustling market at rush hour in Baghdad’s Sadr City. Most of the victims were women, Iraqi police and hospital sources told Reuters news agency.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL, also known as ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on social media shortly after the blast. The group said the assault was carried out by a suicide bomber, a claim Iraqi officials denied.
There are fears that the death toll will rise further. In the last two weeks, ISIL has claimed responsibility for two attacks targeting the Shia community in Baghdad.
First, a car bomb, targeting an open-air market frequented by Shia in Nahrawan near the Iraqi capital, killed at least 23 people and injured 38 others.
Two days later, a car bombing targeting Shia pilgrims commemorating the death anniversary of a revered 8th-century imam killed at least 18 people.
In February, ISIL also claimed a twin suicide bombing in Sadr City that killed 70 people.