In the deadliest attack in 2017, a car filled with explosives blew up on Thursday in southern Baghdad, killing at least 51 people and wounding 55 adding more victims to the growing death list this month.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing in an online statement, as a revenge while its forces are being surrounded in Mosul city.
Security sources said the vehicle which blew up on Thursday was parked in a crowded street full of garages and used car dealers, in Hayy al-Shurta, a Shi’ite district in the southwest of the city.
The site of the bombing was an open space used as a second-hand car market where hundreds of private sellers park their vehicles and wait all day to discuss prices with prospective buyers.
The death toll could climb further as many of the wounded are in critical condition, a doctor said.
The bombing is the second to hit car markets this week, suggesting the group has found it easier to leave vehicles laden with explosives in places where hundreds of other vehicles are parked.
An interior ministry official gave a death toll of 52 and said that more than 50 other people were also wounded. Hospital officials confirmed the figures.
Security officials could be seen inspecting the site before the sun set, while some distressed civilians searched for relatives and others took pictures with their mobile phones of the large crater caused by the blast.
A wave of violence hits Baghdad
Another four attacks in and around Baghdad on Thursday killed eight people and wounded around 30, police and medical officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.
On Wednesday, a suicide bomber detonated a car loaded with explosives in northern Baghdad on Wednesday killing at least nine people.
The powerful blast in the Habibiya area, near Sadr City which is a Shia-majority neighborhood in the Iraqi capital, killing at least nine people while thirty others were wounded.
The explosion targeted a crowded street full of garages and used car dealers.
The attack came a day after a car bomb explosion in southern Baghdad killed at least four people.
The Iraqi capital was rocked by a wave of deadly suicide bombings during the first days of 2017 but relatively few explosions had been reported since.
Suicide bombings on January 8 hit two marketplaces in eastern Baghdad killed at least 20 people. ISIS claimed the first attack in an online statement saying the bomber had targeted “a gathering of Shia” in Jamila.
On January 2, ISIS claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing that killed 39 people in a busy market in Sadr City.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the horrible terrorist attacks carried out by ISIS targeting a car dealership in Baghdad,” the US state separtment said.
Jan Kubis, the UN’s top envoy in Iraq, said: “Yet again, the terrorists are continuing with their carnage against innocent civilians. This is totally unacceptable.”
The latest bombings were also condemned by France, one of the main partners of the US in a coalition assisting Iraq in its battle against ISIS, whose fighters also control parts of neighboring Syria.