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Baghdad bomb targeting Shiites kills at least 19: officials

Baghdad (AFP): A suicide bomber attacked a Shiite-majority area of north Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least 19 people and wounding more than two dozen, security and medical officials said.

The bomber struck in the Shaab area of the Iraqi capital, targeting either a funeral tent or one at which Shiite Muslims distribute food and drinks on the occasion of the annual religious commemorations, officials said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic State group frequently carries out suicide bombings targeting members of Iraq’s Shiite majority, whom it considers heretics.

IS has claimed several recent bombings targeting Shiites in the Iraqi capital, including one on October 9 that killed at least five people, and two more earlier in the month that left at least 10 dead.

And two more IS-claimed bombings killed at least 17 people in Baghdad at the end of September.

Iraqi forces are preparing for a push in northern Iraq on Mosul, the last IS-held city in the country, after regaining much of the Iraqi territory the jihadists seized in June 2014.

But IS has maintained the ability to carry out attacks in government-controlled areas, and is likely to turn increasingly to such tactics as it loses further ground.