At least 33 killed in Iraq’s Diyala bomb attacks
BAGHDAD - Three explosions, two of them suicide car bombs claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group, killed at least 33 people in Iraq's restive Diyala province on Monday, police and medics said.
The blasts targeted mostly Shiite areas and came less than a month after a massive suicide attack left at least 120 dead in Khan Bani Saad, also in the eastern province of Diyala.
The deadliest of Monday's bombings was in an area called Huwaydir. Security sources and medics at the main hospital in Baquba said at least 20 people were killed there and 45 wounded.
"A suicide bomber driving a booby-trapped vehicle blew himself up in the middle of the central market area in Huwaydir," a police lieutenant colonel said.
Another suicide bomber drove his explosives-laden vehicle past a checkpoint before blowing himself up in Kanaan district, killing at least 10 and wounding the same number, a police captain said.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the two suicide attacks in statements released on social media.
In Kanaan, IS said the attack targeted a gathering of Shiite militiamen and soldiers. In Huwaydir, it simply said the car bomb killed Shiites.
An improvised explosive device also went off in a neighbourhood between Baquba and Huwaydir, killing three and wounding four, police said.
It was not immediately clear how many of the victims were civilians.
Following the July 17 bombing in Khan Bani Saad, the provincial authorities had tightened security across the province, especially in Baquba, about 70 kilometres (45 miles) north of Baghdad.
The Khan Bani Saad blast came on the eve of the feast marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan and shocked the nation.
Baghdad announced in January that Iraqi forces had "liberated" Diyala, a religiously and ethnically mixed province partly overrun by IS after the jihadists launched a brutally effective offensive in June 2014.
The jihadists, who consider Shiites heretics, no longer have fixed positions in the province, but have reverted to their old tactics of planting car bombs and carrying out suicide operations or hit-and-run attacks.