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Iraq: Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly blast at Baghdad market

At least 35 killed and scores wounded after suicide bomber targets crowded market in capital's Sadr City neighbourhood
A man picks up debris as Iraqi security forces inspect the site of an explosion in Sadr City district of Baghdad, Iraq on 19 July (Reuters)

At least 35 people have been killed and scores more wounded after a suicide bomber targeted a busy market in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, in an attack claimed by Islamic State (IS).

Iraq's state news agency said the blast, ahead of the Eid al-Adha festival, took place on Monday afternoon in Baghdad's Sadr City neighbourhood.

Women and children were among the dead and some shops burned down as a result of the explosion. More than 60 people were wounded, a police source said.

IS's Nasheer news agency said on Telegram that one of its members blew up his explosive vest among the crowds.

"A terror attack using a locally-made IED (improvised explosive device) in Woheilat Market in Sadr City, in east Baghdad, left several victims dead and others injured," Iraq's interior ministry said in a statement.

IS has claimed responsibility for similar attacks in the area before.

The UK embassy in Iraq described the blast as "a senseless terrorist attack". 

Large bomb attacks, once an almost daily occurrence in the Iraqi capital, have halted in recent years since IS fighters were mostly defeated in 2017. However, explosions continue to take place sporadically.  

In January, a suicide attack claimed by IS killed at least 32 people in a crowded market, marking the most deadly bombing in three years.

Unverified video postings to Twitter show a chaotic scene at a local market, with people attempting to evacuate just after the explosion.

Another large explosion hit a market in Sadr City in April, though security sources later said the incident was not an attack but rather an accident involving a ​​vehicle transporting explosives.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi placed the commander of the federal police regiment responsible for the area of the marketplace under arrest, according to an Iraqi military statement. It also said an investigation was launched.

Tuesday marks the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which likely means the market was busier-than-usual, with families preparing for holiday feasts and gatherings.