BAGHDAD: A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle in a Shiite majority neighbourhood of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least nine people, an interior ministry official said.
Thirty others were wounded in the explosion in the Habibiya area, near the vast district of Sadr City in northern Baghdad, the official said.
A hospital official and a colonel in the Baghdad police confirmed the toll from the blast, which struck in an area where many car dealerships are found.
On Tuesday a car bomb explosion in southern Baghdad killed at least four people, according to the same sources.
The Iraqi capital was rocked by a wave of deadly suicide bombings during the first days of 2017 but relatively few explosions had been reported since.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday’s blast but nearly all suicide attacks are claimed by the Daesh group, which is defending its last major Iraqi bastion of Mosul against a massive, four-month-old operation by the security forces.
Security concerns forced the United Nations to pause its aid operations this week in east Mosul, which Iraqi forces recaptured from Daesh last month, but they will resume soon, a UN humanitarian official said on Wednesday.
“Based on reports of insecurity, the UN decided that we would not send missions into eastern parts of Mosul until we reassess security conditions,” said Lise Grande, the U.N.
Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.
“This has now been done and we expect to reengage as soon as possible, hopefully within the next day or so.”
A suicide bombing at a restaurant in east Mosul last Friday killed 14 people and wounded 39, the second of its kind in the four-month-old Mosul battle.
The attack fractured a sense of safety and relief that many residents felt after Iraqi forces pushed the extremists out of their neighbourhoods in months of heavy street fighting.
Daesh militants who retreated across the Tigris river to western districts also regularly target civilian areas under government control in the east with mortars and grenades dropped from drones.
Residents in the east have been without electricity for months and have been forced to dig wells for water.
US-backed Iraqi forces are gathering on the perimeter of west Mosul, where hundreds of thousands of people are estimated to be living, for a renewed offensive expected to start in the coming days.