At least 47 killed in attacks in and around Baghdad

(Reuters) – Bombings and a mortar strike in Shi’ite Muslim parts of Baghdad and in the rural belt south of the capital killed at least 47 people on Thursday and wounded 123, police and medical officials said.

An Iraqi Shi’ite political figure said the assaults, part of a surge of violence in Shi’ite neighbourhoods in recent weeks, were revenge attacks by the Sunni Muslim militant group Islamic State, which has seized control of much of northern Iraq.

The al Qaeda offshoot has been battling Shi’ite militias and soldiers loyal to Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government as it attempts to establish a caliphate straddling Iraq and neighbouring Syria, where it has also captured swathes of territory.

A suicide car bomb hit an army checkpoint near a restaurant in Baghdad’s northern district of Talibiya at 2:30 p.m. (1130 GMT), killing nine people, officials said. Forty-five minutes later, a pair of car bombs exploded in the district of al-Dawlai in western Baghdad, killing 16 people and wounding 35…

(Photo: People gather at the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad, October 16, 2014. Reuters)