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Iraq: At least 50 killed in Sadr City market explosion

A car bomb in a predominantly Shia district of the Iraqi capital has killed at least 50 people and wounded at least 100 others, police sources told Al Jazeera.

An SUV packed with explosives blew up near a beauty salon in a bustling market at rush hour in Baghdad’s Sadr City.

Most of the victims were women, Iraqi police and hospital sources told the Reuters news agency.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL, also known as ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on social media shortly after the blast.

The group said the assault was carried out by a suicide bomber, a claim Iraqi officials denied.

There are fears that the death toll will rise further.

Last week, ISIL claimed responsibility for a car bombing targeting Shia pilgrims commemorating the death anniversary of a revered imam in Baghdad.

That attack killed at least 18 people, according to Iraqi officials.

In February, ISIL claimed a twin suicide bombing in Sadr City that killed 70 people.

The fight against ISIL has exacerbated a long-running sectarian conflict in Iraq, mostly between the Shia majority and the Sunni minority.

Sectarian tensions also threaten to undermine efforts to dislodge ISIL from vast areas of the north and west of Iraq that they seized in 2014. (Agencies)

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