(Reuters) A car bomb exploded in a predominantly Shi’ite Muslim district of eastern Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 11 people and wounding 39 others, security and medical sources said, the third such blast in four days in the capital.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast near a cinema in Baghdad al-Jadida but ultra-hardline Sunni Islamic State group, which claimed two attacks over the weekend, often target Shi’ite commercial and residential areas.
The blast set fire to at least five other vehicles on a busy commercial street during evening rush hour, the sources said. Unverified photos published online showed a plume of dark smoke rising above the site of the explosion.
Security has gradually improved in Baghdad, which was the target of daily bombings a decade ago, though attacks against the security forces and Shi’ite civilians are still frequent.
At least 12 people were killed on Saturday in two separate car bomb attacks targeting security forces, while a suicide attack at a Shi’ite mosque following Friday prayers left nine others dead.
The rise of Islamic State, which is fighting government forces over control of swathes of northern and western Iraq, has exacerbated a sectarian conflict, mostly between Shi’ites and Sunnis, that emerged after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
(Reporting by Kareem Raheem; Writing by Saif Hameed and Stephen Kalin; Editing by Louise Ireland)