More than 100 Killed and Injured in Iraq’s Bloody Thursday + Video
Bombs in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk killed 36 people on Thursday, mostly in Shiite Muslim and Kurdish neighborhoods, police and medical sources said.
The five separate attacks come as Shiite militia and Kurdish peshmerga fighters battle Sunni militants from the so-called “Islamic State” who have taken over parts of north and west Iraq.
A series of car bomb attacks at a group of restaurants and a market on Thursday killed 21 people in Baghdad, as Ap reports.
Police officials said the first attack targeted a line of small restaurants in the Shiite district of Sadr City in Baghdad on Thursday night, killing 11 people and wounding 25 others.
Minutes later, a second car bomb blast near an outdoor market in the same district killed seven people and wounded 21 others.
Later, a bomb exploded near a restaurant in Baghdad's Shiite northern district of Shaab, killing three people and wounding 12 others.
But in Kirkuk, a car bomb ripped through a crowded street in a mainly Kurdish neighbourhood of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk Thursday, killing at least 15 people and wounded 20., officials said.
"It's a busy street with restaurants and shops, there is great destruction," a police colonel told AFP. The explosion rocked the predominantly Kurdish northern neighbourhood of Shorjah.
Iraq sees near-daily bombings and other attacks mainly targeting Shiite areas and security forces.The attacks are often claimed by the Sunni extremist ISIS group.
On the other hand, France claimed Friday its fighter jets were conducting a "major" raid in Iraq as part of the US-led coalition offensive against the ISIS group, days after members said the strikes were having effect.
"At the moment, a major raid is taking place," Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFMTV, refusing to detail the targets or the number of jets involved.
He said French planes based in the United Arab Emirates and more recently in Jordan had carried out "120 to 130 missions" since the start of the coalition offensive.These include intelligence gathering missions.
The same day, a meeting in Brussels of countries in the coalition concluded that the ISIS group's advance was finally being stopped thanks to the strikes -- a claim reiterated Friday by Le Drian. "But this halt does not mean that the war is over," he warned.
In an interview this week with French weekly Paris Match, however, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad differed, saying the strikes were having no impact.