Terror group ISIS on Saturday claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings that ravaged Baghdad and southern Iraq by taking the lives of over 30 people and wounding dozens, said local officials.
The bombings, which hit Iraq the previous night, came as Iraqi forces battle ISIS in Mosul in a massive operation launched more than seven months ago to retake the country’s second city from the extremists.
The most recent statistics say that the Basra and Baghdad attacks had claimed the lives of 35 people.
In Baghdad, suicide car bombers attacked in the area of a checkpoint in the city’s southern Abu Dsheer area, killing 24 people and wounding 20, Brigadier General Saad Maan told AFP.
Security forces were able to kill one of the attackers, but the second blew up his car bomb, Maan said. And in south Iraq, a suicide bomber blew up an explosives-rigged vehicle at a checkpoint on the outskirts of the city of Basra, killing 11 people and wounding 30, according to Riyadh Abdulamir, the head of Basra province health department.
Experts warn that extremists may increasingly turn to bombings targeting civilians and hit-and-run attacks on security forces as they lose additional ground.
Another ultra-hardline militant who left a second explosives-rigged vehicle was killed by security forces, the Basra Operations Command said.
The terrorist group overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes have since recaptured much of the territory they lost to ISIS.
The presence of the civilians, who either chose not to leave or were prevented from doing so by ISIS, complicates any final assault to seal victory in Mosul, the terror group’s stronghold.
Half a million people are currently displaced as a result of the battle for Mosul, and around 250,000 civilians are estimated to still be trapped inside the city’s west.
Human shields have become a central feature of the vastly outnumbered extremists’ defenses, and ISIS has stopped at nothing to deter people from escaping the city, including killing people who seek to flee.