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ISIS Attacks North of Baghdad, Seven Killed

A destroyed vehicle is seen at the site of a suicide bomb attack at a checkpoint in Rashidiya, a district north of Baghdad, Iraq July 13, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

A destroyed vehicle is seen at the site of a suicide bomb attack at a checkpoint in Rashidiya, a district north of Baghdad, Iraq July 13, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Khalid al Mousily

Baghdad: A suicide bomber killed at least seven people north of Baghdad on Wednesday, July 13, security and medical sources said, in the second bombing claimed by ISIS in the district in as many days.

Eleven others were injured when the attacker detonated his car, laden with explosives, at a checkpoint.

ISIS, which regularly carries out such bombings in the capital and other parts of Iraq where it seized swathes of territory in 2014, said in an online statement it had targeted the army.

A similar attack in Rashidiya on Tuesday, July 12, also claimed by the Sunni Islamist group, killed nine people.

A suicide bombing in the central Karrada district on July 3, claimed by ISIS, killed at least 292, making it one of the worst among the hundreds of such attacks carried out in Iraq since US-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein 13 years ago.

It prompted a public outcry in Baghdad, with residents blaming the government for not protecting the capital.

ISIS has been turning increasingly to suicide bombings, which US and Iraqi officials have touted as proof that battlefield setbacks are weakening the jihadists.

In a US-backed offensive, the Iraqi army has recaptured the cities of Ramadi and Falluja from ISIS in recent months. The government said Falluja had been a launchpad for the group’s Baghdad suicide bombings.

Further north, Iraqi forces have taken back Qayara airbase, which they will use as a staging ground for the main push on Mosul, the largest city under ISIS control, some 60 km away.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has pledged to retake the city by year-end, though some question whether the military will be ready in time.

US defence secretary Ash Carter on Monday, July 11, announced the dispatch of 560 additional soldiers to Iraq, most of whom will work from Qayara to assist the Iraqi thrust towards Mosul.

Abadi met in Baghdad on Wednesday, July 13, with the commander of US forces in the Middle East, General Joseph Votel, to discuss preparations for the Mosul offensive, a statement from the prime minister’s office said.

(Reuters)