Two separate suicide bombings -- one close to Iraq’s capital Baghdad and the other in the Salahuddin province -- left at least 11 people dead and at least 21 wounded Saturday. A man detonated his explosives belt in an Iraqi marketplace between Tarmiyah and Mishahda, just 17 miles from Baghdad, killing women and children, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, miles away in the Salahuddin province, a man drove a car strapped with explosives into a Shiite militia base, killing at least one, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said.
It is unknown who is responsible for the bombings, but the area surrounding the marketplace has been the site of recent clashes between the Islamic State group militants and Iraqi forces. The Shiite militia base was reportedly used by men who had volunteer to fight the insurgent group formerly known as ISIS, Xinhua said.
The Islamic State group has seized large parts of Iraq’s Anbar province in recent weeks and is aiming to consolidate territory there to launch an attack on Baghdad. Militant advances have led to heavy fighting with Iraqi forces that, in some cases, has been joined by Sunni tribal fighters and volunteer Shiite militiamen. ISIS controls about 80 percent of the largely Sunni Anbar province and have threatened to take its capital Ramadi, which could be its “pathway to Baghdad,” Iraq’s Minister of Electricity Qassim al-Fahdawi told the Middle East Monitor.
The Islamic State group militants have now secured a supply route from Syria to central Iraq, used to bring in fighters, weapons and supplies. This week, ISIS brought in 400 fighters and “rockets,” according to the Institute for the Study of War.