BAGHDAD — An evening suicide bombing in a commercial area in a city northeast of Baghdad killed at least 13 people, Iraqi officials said Tuesday as the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.
The bomber blew up his explosives-laden minibus shortly before sunset Monday near a bakery and a falafel restaurant in a Shiite neighbourhood of the city of Baqouba, a police officer said. The explosion in the neighbourhood of Shifta also wounded at least 60 others, he added.
Baqouba, the provincial capital of Iraq’s Diyala province, is 35 miles (60 kilometres) northeast of Baghdad. A medical official confirmed casualty figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorized to release the information.
In an online statement, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the target was a Shiite mosque. The Associated Press could not immediately verify the authenticity of the claim but it appeared on a website commonly used by the Sunni extremist group.
The group controls large stretches of territory in the country’s west and north, as well as Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul. Commercial and public places in Shiite-dominated areas are among the most frequent targets for the Sunni militants seeking to undermine the Iraqi government efforts to maintain security inside the capital.
IS has claimed responsibility for deadly attacks in Shiite sections of Diyala in the past months. In February, the province was the scene of one of the area’s deadliest attacks, when h an IS-affiliated suicide bomber struck mourners in a crowded funeral reception hall, killing up to 40 people and wounding dozens.