Special to WorldTribune.com
Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) targeted Shi’ites in Baghdad on May 11 as a car bomb killed at least 66 people and wounded 87 more.
The bomb was set off in a crowded outdoor market of Baghdad’s majority-Shi’ite eastern district of Sadr City, police officials said.
Karim Salih, a 45-year old grocer, said the bomb was a pickup truck loaded with fruits and vegetables that was parked by a man who quickly disappeared among the crowds of people.
“It was such a thunderous explosion that jolted the ground,” Salih told the Associated Press.
“The force of the explosion threw me for meters (yards) away and I lost conscious for a few minutes,” said the merchant who said he was not injured, but two of his workers were wounded.
In an online statement, ISIL said the attack was aimed at a gathering of Shi’ite militiamen in the area.
Meanwhile, a report said ISIL buried 35 of its fighters alive after they fled the battlefield in northern Iraq on May 1.
The men were fighting Iraqi government forces near the village of Bashir, 12 miles south of Kirkuk, according to Ahlul Bayt News Agency (ABNA).
ISIL leaders sentenced the jihadists to death after they deserted the battlefield and the terrorist group lost control of the village. The fighters were buried alive on the outskirts of Qayyarah, about 35 miles south of Mosul, ABNA reported.
In March, Iraq’s military opened a new front against ISIL in the Makhmour area in what was said to be the first phase of a wider campaign to liberate Mosul. Progress, however, has been slow, and to date Iraqi forces have taken just five villages in the area.
Iraqi forces are slowly closing in on the oil town of Qayyara on the western banks of the Tigris River. Taking control of Qayyara would help to isolate Mosul from territory that ISIL holds further south and east, officials say.