BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Three car bombs ripped through a busy streets and marketplaces in Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 19 people, a day after a wave of bombings hit the capital.
The deadliest attack took place in the upscale Mansour district of western Baghdad, where a car packed with explosives blew up, killing at least 10 people and wounding 27, police and medical sources said.
“The blast targeted a busy commercial street at the peak of rush of shoppers," said one police captain who attended the blast scene. "Dozens of parked vehicles were set on fire and black smoke is covering the area”.
Iraqi authorities lifted a decade-old night-time curfew on Baghdad in February, seeking to restore a sense of normality to the capital and show it was no longer threatened by Islamic State militants who overran a third of the country last summer.
But the explosions appear to have increased in frequency, and an interior ministry official said Islamic State militants were striking back after losing the city of Tikrit early this month.
Earlier on Monday, at least five people were killed and 17 wounded when a parked car bomb exploded near a government office in the mainly Shi’ite district of Bayaa in southern Baghdad, police sources said.
Another four people were killed and 10 wounded when a car bomb exploded near a commercial street in Baghdad's predominantly Shi'ite district of Amil.
“Terrorists are trying to lessen the tough pressure they came under after the recent victories achieved by our security forces," said an interior ministry official. "They set bombs here and there to confuse security situation in the capital".
(Reporting by Baghdad Bureau; Editing by Larry King)