Civilian killed, 4 wounded in bomb blast north of Baghdad

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

Baghdad ( A bomb blast rocked an area near commercial shops in northern Baghdad on Saturday, killing one and wounding four, according to police sources.

The sources told Alsumaria News that an explosive device planted on the side of a road in Saba al-Bour, north of the capital, exploded, leaving one dead and four others wounded.

Earlier on Saturday, another bomb exploded at al-Shaab area, also in the north, wounding three.

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 Saturday bombings, but IS militants have said they had been 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 for all cities.

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