Dozens are dead after bombs detonated in Baghdad, one of them in the eastern district of Sadr City, while ISIS claimed responsibility for all three attacks on May 11.
Officials say two additional bombings in the Kadhimiyah neighborhood of Baghdad killed at least 30 and left 80 wounded after the first blast in Sadr Vity.
The first attack was a car bomb that killed at least 63 people and wounded at least 85 others, although officials say the death toll could rise.
The blast happened in a crowded outdoor market, said police. The shopping venue is one of the main four in Sadr City, which has a population of 2.5 million, almost half of Baghdad’s population.
Emergency responders rushed to the scene of the first attack, walking through wrecked cars and debris as they tried to help victims. The streets were stained with blood, while front-side facades of various buildings were black and heavily damaged.
Karim Salih, a 45-year-old grocer, said the bomb was a pickup truck loaded with fruits and vegetables that was parked there by a man who left it and disappeared among the crowds of people.
“It was such a thunderous explosion that jolted the ground,” Salih told The Associated Press.
“The force of the explosion threw me for meters (yards) away and I lost consciousness for a few minutes,” he added.
Salih was not injured, but two of his workers were wounded.
After the first bombing, a Sunni extremist group, which is against Shiite muslims, said it carried out the attack. ISIS said the blast was carried out by a suicide bomber, but Iraqi officials denied that. In an online website commonly used by Sunni militants, ISIS said it was targeting a gathering of Shiite militiamen.
Officials say the increase in attacks in Iraq’s capital is an attempt by ISIS to distract from their battlefield losses. The extremist group recently lost Iraqi territory it had conquered in 2014.
The attacks come at a time of a political freeze that has paralyzed the work of the Iraqi government and parliament, adding to the nation’s complex set of military, security, humanitarian, economic, and human rights issues.
“Politicians are fighting each other in parliament and government while the people are being killed every day,” said Hussein Abdullah, a father of two and owner of an electrical appliances store who suffered shrapnel wounds from the bombing.
“If they can’t protect us, then they have to let us do the job,” he added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.