A picture taken with a mobile phone on February 16, 2017 shows burnt vehicles at the scene of a blast by a massive car bomb, which killed dozens in a used car market in southern Baghdad. Sent from my iPhone / AFP PHOTO / Ahmad MOUSA

BAGHDAD – At least 45 people were killed on Thursday in a car bombing claimed by the radical Sunni Islamic State group in a mostly Shiite area of Baghdad, a security official said.

Forty-nine people were injured in the explosion in Baghdad’s south-western district of Bayaa, according to Saad Maan, a spokesman for Baghdad Operations Command, the agency in charge of the city’s security.

“The terrorist attack took place in an area full of car dealerships in Bayaa,” he said in a statement.

Islamic State’s semi-official Amaq agency said that the attack had been carried out using a parked car targeting a crowd of Shiites in the area.

The attack is the deadliest in Baghdad this year. Islamic State regards Shiites as heretics.

The group often targets markets, restaurants and other crowded locations in mainly Shiite districts, as well as Shiite religious ceremonies.

In July 2016, nearly 300 people were killed in a car bombing claimed by Islamic State in a busy shopping area in Baghdad.

Iraq is engaged in a US-backed military campaign aimed at driving Islamic state from its key stronghold of Mosul.

Last month, Iraqi forces regained the eastern section of Mosul.

The forces are bracing themselves for a new offensive aimed at wresting the western part of Mosul in northern Iraq from Islamic State’s control.

The al-Qaeda splinter group seized Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, in mid-2014.- dpa


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