BAGHDAD – A suicide driver rammed his explosive-laden car into a police checkpoint in the Iraqi capital killing 21 people, including more than a dozen civilians en route to a Shiite shrine in the final days of the Islamic holy month.
At least 13 people killed in the attack were civilians, according to police and hospital officials. At least 35 people were wounded — more than half of them civilians.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak with the media.
The attack occurred at the entrance to Baghdad’s Khazimiyah district, where many cars were en route to the Imam Al-Khadim Shrine in the lead up to the Eid feast commemorating the end of Ramadan.
Baghdad has been on edge since the Sunni militant blitz led by the Islamic State extremist group seized the northern city of Mosul, vowing to push south to the capital. The city has seen several small scale bombings in recent weeks, but it has so far been free of the large, co-ordinated attacks seen earlier this year ahead of April elections.
Earlier on Tuesday, two mortar rounds landed near a police station in Baghdad’s Sabi al-Bore neighbourhood, killing three policemen and wounding four others, a police officer said.
Associated Press writer Sinan Salaheedin contributed from Baghdad.