BAGHDAD: A car bomb blast has killed at least five civilians and wounded 16 others in northern Iraq’s city of Tikrit, police and medical sources have said.
The car was parked near a restaurant in Tikrit, about 175km north of the capital, Baghdad. The blast set nearly a dozen vehicles on fire, police sources said yesterday.
Three of the dead were women, sources told the media. Tikrit’s main hospital said it had received several patients wounded in the attack.
There were no immediate claims for the attack, though the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) has claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in Iraq. This month, there has been a string of bombings around Baghdad and an attack on the house of a security official in western Iraq that killed nine people.
The ISIL was forced from Tikrit in 2015. Late last year, the Iraqi forces said they had removed the armed group from its urban strongholds across the country.
Since then, the ISIL fighters are said to have switched over to bombings and launching attacks on the security forces.
The Iraqi army has said it is keeping a close eye on its border with Syria over worries that ISIL fighters may cross over to the country. Iraqi officials estimate that at least 2,500 ISIL fighters are active in Deir Az Zor and other Syrian towns close to the Iraqi border.
“We are intensifying our intelligence gathering efforts … We are also conducting strikes and shelling against ISIL pockets,” Brigadier General Yahiyah Rasoul of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command Centre told Al Jazeera earlier this month. —Agencies