May 9, 2019 / 7:04 PM / 6 months ago

Blast rocks Baghdad marketplace, differing accounts on casualties

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A blast rocked Baghdad’s northeastern Sadr City district on Thursday but accounts differed on whether it caused any casualties. Islamic State claimed responsibility.

Police Colonel Jamal Hameed told Reuters a parcel had been found on the side of the road near a market and detonated in a controlled explosion, hurting no one.

He said an earlier statement by the joint military-police Baghdad Operations Command mentioning a suicide bomb and several deaths had been released in error.

That statement had said a bomber detonated an explosive belt surrounded by security forces. Local media reported that at least eight people were killed. Reuters was unable to independently verify whether there were any casualties.

Islamic State released its own statement, saying a suicide bomber had detonated an explosive vest in Sadr City, killing eight people and wounding more than 10.

Iraq declared victory over the militant group in 2017, three years after it took over vast swathes of the country. Its fighters have since adapted their tactics to focus on insurgent-style attacks.

The blast hit days after the start of the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn to sunset and tend to congregate in public places after breaking their fast.

Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein and Ahmed Rasheed; additional reporting by Hesham Hajali in Cairo; writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Andrew Heavens and James Dalgleish

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