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Baghdad area suicide attacks kill at least 18 – police

BAGHDAD, Iraq (3rd UPDATE) – Two suicide bomb attacks near the entrance of a military base north of Baghdad and by a market in the Iraqi capital killed at least 18 people Thursday, June 9, police said.

Both explosions, claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group, occurred at around 9 am (0600 GMT).

The attack by the entrance of one of Iraq's largest military bases in Taji, just north of Baghdad, killed at least 7 people and wounded 18, a police colonel said.

An interior ministry spokesman said soldiers were among the casualties.

A suicide bomb explosion in the capital's mostly Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad Jadida killed at least 11 people and wounded 27, the same source said.

An AFP photographer on the scene said the blast caused widespread devastation in the area, which has been repeatedly hit.

A police humvee was badly damaged and several buildings were set on fire by the explosion.

Baghdad health official confirmed the casualty figures for both attacks.

In a statement posted online, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks and named the two Iraqi suicide bombers.

Under heavy pressure on the battlefield, the jihadist organization has struck back with bloody attacks in Baghdad.

The deadliest spate of bombings to hit the capital this year was in May when 3 attacks on the same day, including a devastating blast in Sadr City, killed close to 100 people.

The spike in Baghdad bombings added pressure on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to declare the launch two weeks ago of an offensive to retake Fallujah, an ISIS bastion that lies just 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of the capital. – Rappler.com