News World Suicide bomb attack in Baghdad kills 35 as French president visits
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Suicide bomb attack in Baghdad kills 35 as French president visits

Baghdad suicide bomb 2.1.17
Iraqis gather around the wrecked bus after the bomb attack. Photo: Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu/Getty
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Some 35 people have been killed in a suicide attack in Baghdad claimed by Islamic State.

The attack overshadows a visit by French President Francois Hollande, who offered to step up support for Iraq’s campaign against the militants.

Monday’s bomb attack hit a busy residential and commercial area in the city’s mainly Shiite eastern suburb of Sadr city.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the attackers lured casual workers waiting for employment onto their vehicle, promising them work, before blowing it up.

Baghdad suicide bomb bus
The dead were largely casual workers lured onto a bus with promises of employment. Photo: Getty

An official, from the Interior Ministry and speaking on condition of anonymity, said another 62 people were injured.

Islamic State, a Sunni extremist group, has carried out frequent bomb attacks on Shi’ite areas in Baghdad, often targeting markets, restaurants and other crowded areas to maximise casualties.

Security forces in Baghdad also reported two explosions near a hospital, killing a number of people.

Baghdad suicide attack
The coffin of a victim of the attack is carried during the funeral ceremony in the Iraqi holy Shiite city of Najaf. Photo: Getty

Hollande, speaking after a meeting with al-Abadi, said that he thought Iraqi forces would recapture the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State within weeks.

International efforts to support Iraqi forces in recapturing the jihadists’ main stronghold in the country should be scaled up, the French president said.

Government forces working to liberate Mosul have met fierce resistance from Islamic State snipers and suicide attackers.

– By Ziad Haris and Kadham al-Attabi

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