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31 killed in Baghdad twin suicide bombing

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PM Haider al-Abadi calls for elimination of jihadist ‘sleeper cells’

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called for the elimination of jihadist “sleeper cells” on Monday after a twin suicide bombing killed 31 people in Baghdad in the second such attack in three days.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but most such attacks in Iraq are the work of the Islamic State jihadist group.

The bombing comes after Abadi’s government declared victory over IS in December and as the country gears up for parliamentary elections.

“Two suicide bombers blew themselves up in Tayyaran Square in central Baghdad,” said General Saad Maan, spokesman for the Joint Operations Command, which includes the army and police.

A police officer reported “31 dead and 94 wounded”.

Tayyaran Square is a bustling commercial centre and a place where day labourers gather in the early morning waiting for jobs. It has been the site of deadly attacks in the past.

Iraqi analyst Hisham al-Hashemi said attacks at the square since 2011 have killed 180 people, “often in the run-up to elections or just after the polls”.

They aim to “create chaos and exacerbate sectarian divisions,” he said.

Security forces cordoned off the scene of the blasts as ambulances gathered in the area, an AFP journalist said.

May elections

Abadi held an emergency meeting with the Joint Operations Command and intelligence officials after the attack, his office said, asking them to “eliminate IS sleeper cells” and ensure the security of civilians.

Just hours after the first attack, another bombing in the east of Baghdad killed one person and wounded three, the police officer said.

 

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 5:50:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/31-killed-in-baghdad-twin-suicide-bombing/article22444535.ece

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