Five car bombs went off in Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least 25 people. The attacks occurred in predominantly Shiite districts. Meanwhile, hundreds of Christian families fled Mosul following rebel threats.
Saturday’s deadliest bombing took place in the Shiite neighborhood of Abu Dashir, where a suicide attacker rammed a car packed with explosives into a checkpoint, killing at least seven people and wounding 19, officials said. Four policemen were among the dead, a police officer said.
Later in the day, three car bombs in different neighborhoods of Baghdad went off in less than 10 minutes, hitting the districts of Baiyaa, Jihad and Khazimiyah. The attacks killed at least 15 people and wounded another 42, police officials said.
Another car bomb near a bus stop in Khazimiyah killed three people and wounded 15, police said.
Much of the recent violence in Iraq has been blamed on an al Qaeda offshoot – the radical Sunni group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which in late June proclaimed a caliphate and renamed itself “Islamic State.”
Saturday’s attacks are the most significant since the ISIS insurgents captured Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul last month.
Christians under attack
On Friday, the radical group told Christians in Iraq that they must either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy, leave or face death. The ultimatum to Mosul’s Christian community was read out after Friday prayers.
The deadline was set for midday local time (09.00 UTC) on Saturday. Hundreds of families have already started leaving their homes in Mosul.
According to the United Nations, 5,600 civilians have been killed in Iraq this year.
ng/msh (AP, dpa, Reuters)