Baghdad car bomb kills 48 as Islamic State escalates insurgency

A car packed with explosives blew up on Thursday in southern Baghdad, killing at least 48 people and wounding 55, security and medical sources said, in the deadliest such attack in Iraq this year, Reuters reports.

Islamic State, which is on the defensive after losing control of eastern Mosul to a U.S.-backed Iraqi military offensive, claimed responsibility for the bombing in an online statement.

As it cedes territory captured in a 2014 offensive across northern and western Iraq, the ultra-hardline group has stepped up insurgent strikes on government areas, particularly in the capital Baghdad.

Security sources said the vehicle which blew up on Thursday was parked in a crowded street full of garages and used car dealers, in Hayy al-Shurta in the southwest of the city.

The death toll could climb further as many of the wounded are in critical condition, a doctor said.
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