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Blasts rock Baghdad

Nearly 120 people were killed and 200 wounded in two bombings overnight in Baghdad, most of them in a busy shopping area as residents celebrated Ramadan, police and medical sources said on Sunday.

The attack on the shopping area of Karrada is the deadliest since US-backed Iraqi forces last month scored a major victory when it dislodged Islamic State from their stronghold of Falluja, an hour’s drive west of the capital. It is also the deadliest so far this year. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had ordered the offensive after a series of bombings in Baghdad, saying Falluja served as a launch pad for such attacks on the capital. However, bombings have continued.

A convoy carrying Abadi who had come to tour the site of the bombings was pelted with stones and bottles by residents, angry at what they felt were false promises of better security. A refrigerator truck packed with explosives blew up in the central district of Karrada, killing 115 people and injuring at least 200. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement circulated online by supporters of the ultra-hard line Sunni group. It said the blast was a suicide bombing. Karrada was busy at the time as Iraqis eat out and shop late during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which ends next week with the Eid al-Fitr festival. (Reuters)

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