UPDATED: 3 killed, 15 wounded in blasts and mortar shelling in Baghdad

Photos shared across social networks show pillows of smoke following a bomb blast in central Baghdad

Baghdad ( Three people killed and 13 others were wounded when two explosions hit areas in central and western Baghdad, while a mortar missile wounded others in the west, security sources said Tuesday.

The sources told Alsumaria News that an explosion in al-Nahda region in central Baghdad killed two people, wounded six others and burned several vehicles. Other news sources said the blast was caused by a booby-trapped car.

Another police source told Alsumaria News that an IED planted on the side of a road in al-Iskan, west of Baghdad, killed a civilian and wounded seven others.

The sources also added that a mortar missile landed on a house in Radwaniya, west of the capital, wounding two persons.

Violence surged in Iraq with the emergence of Islamic State militants who took over large areas of the country in 2014. Baghdad has been witnessing almost daily bombings targeting civilians and security personnel. Nobody has claimed responsibility yet for the Tuesday bombings, but IS militants have said they were responsible for several bloody explosions that hit the capital in the past weeks, bringing the governorate municipal and security officials under critics’ fire.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) said violence in the country left 19000 casualties in nine months of 2016.

Observers believe Islamic State have begun to escalate attacks outside the city of Mosul, where the group has been losing ground and personnel since October, so as to relieve pressure by government forces on that front and to divert attention from group losses.

While losing Mosul could be the severest blow to the group’s existence in Iraq, some observers believe attacks outside the province prove that the extremist group can still pose a security threat.

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