Islamic State militants carried out two suicide attacks outside of Baghdad, killing dozens of people this weekend.
In the northeastern Shi’ite suburb of Sadr City, the extremists carried out a double bombing.
Hours earlier, three suicide bombers and gunmen stormed into Abu Ghraib. The attackers rode pickup trucks into the town, just 25 kilometers west of downtown Baghdad.
Shi’ite leader Moqtada al Sadr called upon his followers to protect Baghdad.
Residents said Baghdad’s International Zone (IZ) was temporarily put on high alert. Many embassies, international staff and Iraqi government officials live and work in the IZ.
More Iraqi forces were quickly deployed there. They were also sent to the capital’s international airport, west of the city.
The Iraqi officials declared the fighting in Abu Ghraib over by early afternoon. And Baghdad residents said the city was back to operating as normal.
A spokesman for the Iraqi Interior Ministry told local media that all the attackers in the Abu Ghraib assault were killed. He said that the situation was “under control.”
He also said that some 30 Iraqi security forces died in the assault.
But by early evening, local media said Iraqi fighter jets were involved in the Abu Ghraib fight. They said fighting was still going on in parts of the city.
Abu Ghraib is west of Baghdad, about halfway between the capital and Fallujah. IS controls Fallujah.
After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Abu Ghraib became notorious for the photographs showing U.S. troops abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison.
In Sadr City, two bombs tore through a crowded local mobile phone market. For years, the Shi’ite suburb has suffered through sectarian violence. Hundreds of people have been killed there in bomb attacks over the years.
Last August, a truck bomb at a different market killed 80 people. IS militants took responsibility for that attack.
I’m Anne Ball.
Sharon Behn wrote this story for VOA News. Anne Ball adapted it for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
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Words in This Story
alert - n. the state of being watchful for danger
stormed - v. raided
assault - n. attack
notorious – adj. well-known or famous especially for something bad
sectarian – adj. relating to religious or political sects and the differences between them