Islamic State group suicide bombers have claimed responsibility for two car explosions that killed at least 32 people and injured 75 others in the southern Iraqi city of Samawa. The bombings represented a rare attack by the Sunni group against the mainly Shiite southern provinces where Samawa is located.
One blast targeted a local government building, and the second one exploded near a bus station, police sources said. Images of the attack showed plumes of smock and burnt bodies and cars. The death toll was expected to increase, Reuters reported Sunday.
The terror group said in a statement that the assailant "blew up his car in the middle of a gathering of the Shiite Ministry of Interior Special Forces (al-Maghaweer forces). He killed and wounded a number of them." When Shiite security forces arrived at the scene, the attacker "blew up his car and killed more people," the statement said.
— Ammar karim (@ammar_afp) May 1, 2016
Iraqi government officials said they have made gains against the militant group, also known as ISIS, provoking new attacks from its fighters across Baghdad and other cities. More than 40 civilians have died in bombings carried out by the militants in Baghdad over the past month. In one March attack, an ISIS-claimed suicide bombing on a stadium killed 29 and wounded 60, CBS News reported.
Iraq saw a violent weekend after protesters attacked Baghdad's Green Zone on Saturday and ransacked government buildings, following a fiery speech from Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who called Iraq's leaders corrupt. Several people were injured in the chaos, including two Iraqi security forces, local media reported.
While ISIS still rules over much of Iraq's west and north, it has seen many territorial losses over the past year. Most recently, ISIS fighters were forced from the western town of Hit.