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Three blasts kill at least 77 in Baghdad

Powerful cleric Moqtada al-Sadr blamed the govt for failing to provide security and hundreds of militiamen loyal to him deployed in Sadr City

Published: Updated:

A third bomb hit Baghdad on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to at least 77 killed and 140 wounded after two deadly previous attacks took place on the same day.

The third attack, which killed 41 and wounded more than 70, took place in a the market in the predominately Shiite Muslim district of Sadr City, police and medical sources said.

Powerful cleric Moqtada al-Sadr blamed the government for failing to provide security and hundreds of militiamen loyal to him deployed in Sadr City and five other mainly Shiite areas where the worst of the recent violence has been centered.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which the police sources said was conducted by a suicide bomber driving a car.

The two earlier bomb blasts killed at least 44 people and wounded more than 90, police and medical sources said, following the bloodiest week of attacks inside the capital so far this year.

The suicide bombing in a marketplace in the northern district of al-Shaab killed 38 people and wounded more than 70, while a car bomb in the southern neighborhood of al-Rasheed left six dead and another 21 wounded, the sources said.

ISIS claimed the suicide bombing in al-Shaab, saying it was carried out by a man, whom it identified as Abu Khattab al-Iraqi. The bomber threw hand grenades and then detonated a suicide belt, ISIS said.

A spokesman for Baghdad Operations Command told state television the attacker in al-Shaab, a predominately Shiite Muslim area, had set off an explosives-filled vest in coordination with a planted bomb. Initial investigations revealed the attacker had been a woman, he said.

ISIS has claimed bombings in and around the capital last week that killed 100 people and sparked popular anger against the government for failing to ensure security.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said a political crisis sparked by his attempt to reshuffle the cabinet in an anti-corruption bid was hampering the fight against ISIS and creating space for more insurgent attacks on the civilian population.

Security has improved somewhat in the capital in recent years, even as ISIS fighters seized swathes of the country almost to the outskirts of Baghdad’s ramparts.

But the prospect that the capital could return to the days when suicide bombings killed scores of people every week adds to pressure on Abadi to resolve the political crisis.

(With agencies)