Two overnight bomb blasts outside a shopping mall in central Baghdad killed at least 13 people and wounded more than 30, security and medical officials said on Saturday.
The blasts were the latest in a series of deadly attacks at Baghdad shopping centres in 2016, including one that killed more than 300 people in early July.
In the latest attack, one explosion came from a parked car and the other was caused by an explosives-laden vehicle driven by a suicide bomber outside Nakheel Mall on Palestine Street in the city centre, a police colonel said. The blasts, which hit just before midnight yesterday, shattered windows at the multi-storey mall and damaged a fence surrounding it.
Interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan said there were no casualties inside.
As people worked to clean up the rubble outside today, a private security company guarding the mall sought to prevent pictures being taken, seizing the cameras of several photographers.
The cameras were eventually returned, but video footage shot by an AFP photographer was deleted by the firm. Nakheel Mall opened in 2016 and shops were likely to have remained open late ahead of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha which begins on Monday.
The mall also houses one of the city’s most popular cinemas.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the twin bombings, but the Islamic State jihadist group has said it carried out other attacks at Baghdad shopping centres this year as well as almost all suicide bombings in the capital.
On Tuesday, a car bomb near a hospital killed at least seven people in Baghdad’s Karrada district — an area still reeling from a July suicide bombing that set nearby shopping centres ablaze and left more than 300 people dead.
IS claimed the Karrada blasts, as well as an attack involving gunmen and a car bomb that killed at least 12 people near another Baghdad mall in January.
IS has suffered a string of military defeats over the past year and the caliphate it proclaimed in June 2014 is rapidly shrinking.
As the jihadist organisation loses territory across Iraq, officials have warned that it may step up revenge attacks against civilians in Baghdad and other cities.