At least 4 killed, several injured after car bomb attack rocks Iraq’s Sadr city

At least four people have been killed and 17 others wounded in a car bomb attack in Iraq’s Sadr City, some 18km from capital Baghdad, police said on Thursday.

The car was parked at a busy second-hand equipment market in the mainly Shia district, police said.

Black smoke was rising from the marketplace and ambulances rushed to save the wounded, Reuters reported, citing witnesses. Police cordoned off the site of the blast shortly afterwards.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. It was the second major deadly bombing to hit Baghdad this year after twin suicide attacks claimed by Islamic State of Iraq fighters, killing at least 32 people in a crowded market in January.

Large bomb attacks, once an almost daily occurrence in the Iraqi capital, have halted in recent years since ISIL was defeated in 2017, part of an overall improvement in security that has brought normal life back to Baghdad.

The January blast was the most deadly in three years.

Thursday’s attack comes during an election year, a time when tension between rival Iraqi political groups has often caused violence in the past.

The populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, after whom Sadr city is named and who commands a following of millions of Iraqis, counts among his enemies both ISIL and rival Shia parties with militias backed by Iran.

On Wednesday, separate violence linked to regional rivalries saw an explosives-laden drone target US forces at Iraq’s Erbil airport in northern Iraq and a separate rocket attack kill a Turkish soldier at a military base nearby.