At least four people have been brutally killed and 17 others injured in a car blast attack in the Sadr City area of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, police and medical sources said on Thursday.Police parked at a busy second-hand equipment market in the predominantly Shia district.
An Iraqi military declaration stated the explosion had killed one civilian, injured 12 others and set many vehicles on fire. Medici in Sadr City set the death toll at four.
Five cars were also destroyed in the blast, the military Security Media Cell reported.
The bomber struck shortly afternoon in front of a police station in Baghdad, police said.
Black smoke rose from the market, and ambulances rushed to rescue the injured, the Reuters news agency reported, citing witnesses. Police said the explosion soon cordoned off.
There was no quick declaration of accountability for the bombing. It was the second massive destructive bombing that hit Baghdad this year after twin suicide bombings claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and fighters from the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) killed at least 32 people in a busy market in January.
Major bombings, once an almost daily occurrence in the Iraqi capital, has come to a standstill in recent years since ISIL was defeated in 2017, part of an overall security improvement that has restored normal life in Baghdad. The January explosion was the most dangerous in three years.
Thursday’s attack comes during an election year, a time when tensions between rival Iraqi political groups have often caused violence in the past.
The populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, after whom the city of Sadr is named and which commands a following of millions of Iraqis, counts among its enemies ISIL and rival Shia parties with militias backed by Iran.
On Wednesday, separate violence related to regional clashes saw an explosive device target US troops at Iraq’s Erbil airport in Iraq, and a separate rocket attack killed a Turkish soldier at a nearby military base.