BAGHDAD (AP) — Militants unleashed a wave of attacks in Iraq on Thursday, mainly targeting Shiite areas in and around the capital of Baghdad, killing at least 50 people and wounding dozens, authorities said.
The Islamic State group has overrun vast areas in western and northern Iraq as well as parts of neighboring Syria, and has vowed to destabilize and eventually take over Baghdad.
It claimed responsibility for the day’s deadliest strike. In that attack, two parked car bombs exploded simultaneously in a commercial area in the northern Dolaie neighborhood, killing 14 civilians and wounding 34 others, a police officer said.
Residents angered by the failure of government forces to protect the neighborhood threw stones at police checkpoints and police cars that arrived to respond to the blasts. That prompted police to withdraw from the area.
Senior Iraqi officials have tried to reassure residents that the capital is too well-protected for militants to capture, even as they struggle to stop frequent near daily deadly attacks.
Islamic State fighters say they have a foothold inside Baghdad. They have claimed several large-scale bombings in the city recently, particularly in the Shiite districts in Baghdad.
The group said the Dolaie attack targeted Iraqi soldiers and Shiite militiamen allied with them. The authenticity of the claim could not be independently verified, but it was posted on websites frequently used by the group.
Violence that bore the hallmarks of the group struck elsewhere too.
In the eastern neighborhood of Talibiyah, a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a police checkpoint, killing at least 12 people, another police officer said. The dead in that attack included seven policemen and five civilians, he added. At least 28 other people were wounded.
Six other civilians were killed and 16 wounded in another car bomb explosion on a commercial street in the northern Hurriyah district, police said.
And in the northern Shula neighborhood, six civilians were killed and 18 wounded when mortar rounds rained down on a residential area, police added.
Shortly before sunset, police said a car bomb explosion at the Shiite part of Mahmoudiya town killed seven people and wounded 12 others. Mahmoudiya is 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad. A roadside bomb also hit an army patrol just south of Baghdad, killing two soldiers and wounding four others.
Yet another bomb exploded near shops in downtown Baghdad, killing three people and wounding four others, said police.
Medical officials confirmed the causality figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information to the media.
Thursday’s explosions have brought the death toll from attacks since Sunday to at least 162 people, mostly in Baghdad, according to an Associated Press tally.
Associated Press Writers Murtada Faraj and Sameer N. Yacoub contributed to this report from Baghdad.