Islamic State suicide bombings kill 35

  • 21/05/2017
Iraqi people inspect the site of sucide car bomb attack (Reuters)
Iraqi people inspect the site of sucide car bomb attack (Reuters)

Thirty-five people are dead and 33 injured after a string of suicide bombings claimed by Islamic State extremist militia in two Iraqi cities.

The overnight attacks Friday into Saturday, involving car bombings, targeted security checkpoints in the capital Baghdad and southern city of Basra.

Islamic State claimed responsibility in online statements.

In recent months, Islamic State has stepped up its attacks in different parts of Iraq in a bid to distract attention from an ongoing US-backed campaign to dislodge it from its last key stronghold of Mosul in Iraq.

On February 19, Iraqi forces started a major offensive to wrest back the western section of Mosul from Islamic State, almost a month after they recaptured the eastern part of the city.

Over the past weeks, government forces have retaken several neighbourhoods in western Mousl, squeezing the Islamic State militants into small-but-densely populated parts of the city.

Islamic State seized Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, in a blitz in mid-2014.

More attacks in Afghanistan

Gunmen have stormed a bank in eastern Afghanistan and opened fire, killing at least three people and wounding many more before being shot dead by security forces, officials said.

At least three attackers on Saturday struck the bank in Gardez, the capital of Paktia province, according to the provincial governor's office, and they were all killed at the scene. It said more than 10 people were also wounded in the assault.

An official at the city's hospital said they had received three dead bodies, including two police officers and one bank employee, and had treated 31 wounded people. It was not clear what had happened to the attackers' bodies.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, and the attackers' motives were not immediately known.

Insurgent groups such as the Taliban and Islamic State often carry out attacks in Afghanistan, including in the past on banks, where police, soldiers, and other government employees routinely collect their paychecks.