BAGHDAD (AP) — A series of bombings ripped through Baghdad on Friday, mainly targeting public places and killing at least 40 people, Iraqi officials said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks but violence has escalated both in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq in the wake of Islamic State group's capture of large swaths of territory in the country's west and north during a blitz last year. The Islamic State has taken credit for similar attacks in the past, especially those targeting Shiites, as well as Iraqi security forces and government buildings.
The deadliest of Friday's attacks came when a car bomb went off inside a car dealership in the Shiite neighborhood of Habibya in eastern Baghdad, killed 15 people and wounded 26 others, police said. Thick black smoke could be seen rising from the area as at least 11 cars were burnt. Security forces sealed off the place.
Half an hour earlier, a car bomb detonated near an out-door market in the capital's southwestern Amil neighborhood, killing 13 people and wounding 24 there, police officials said.
Earlier, a bomb blast on a commercial street in the southeastern Shiite New Baghdad district killed four people and wounded nine. Also, a bomb exploded near an outdoor market in the Dora neighborhood, killing three shoppers and another bomb blast near a cafe killed three people in the capital's southeastern suburbs.
A roadside bomb exploded near a patrol of Sunni fighters known as Sahwa in southern Baghdad, killing two of the force's members. The Sahwa fighters joined forces with U.S. troops at the height of the Iraq insurgency to fight al-Qaida and other Sunni militants.
Medical officials confirmed the casualties in Friday's attacks. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Associated Press writer Murtada Faraj in Baghdad contributed to this report.