Two suicide bomb attacks targeting Iraqi police and checkpoints in Baghdad Thursday left at least 21 people dead and more than 70 others wounded, officials report.
Witnesses claim that both attacks were carried out by bombers on foot wearing vests strapped with explosives, reported The Los Angeles Times. The first attack took place in Baghdad's Bab al-Sharji area, killing nine civilians, three police officers and wounding 45 people. The second incident was at al-Wathba Square, leaving nine people dead and wounding 31 others.
Because they're not authorized to speak with reporters, two medical officers confirmed that the casualty figures while speaking on the condition of anonymity, according to the Denver Post.
ISIS soon claimed the responsibility for the attacks on Twitter, saying that it targeted police and Shiite paramilitary forces. The authenticity of their statement couldn't be verified, but the language and phrasing is consistent with previous statements made by the Islamic State, according to SFGate.
Iraq is going through its worst crisis since U.S. troops withdrew from the area in 2011. The Islamic State, which splintered off from Iraq's al-Qaida branch, now controls about a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in its self-declared "caliphate."
Locals in Baghdad are now the near-daily witnesses of roadside bombs, suicide blasts and assassinations targeting Iraqi forces and government officials, with an estimated death toll of at least several thousand.