UPDATE: 11:25 a.m. EDT – More than 50 people were trapped in mall in eastern Baghdad Monday after gunmen stormed the area and claimed hostages. Officials said at least 25 people were wounded, the Associated Press reported. The men stormed the complex after a car bomb exploded outside in the predominately Shi’ite Muslim district of Baghdad Jadida.
The Islamic State group could be behind the attack, according to a report from the Levantine Group, an independent research and risk assessment consultancy firm. “The modus operandi of the attack, that is, bombings followed by gunmen indicates that ISIS is likely responsible for the attack. In this context, with the group losing territory in areas of Iraq, most recently in Ramadi, ISIS is likely attempting to demonstrate its continued capabilities while also encouraging deployments away from active battle fronts,” the report said.
At least 27 people were wounded in the bomb blast, the Jerusalem Post reported. Security forces immediately called the bombing a terrorist attack but it was unclear who was responsible. Some reported indicated at least 20 men were involved in the attack. The Associated Press reported 10 people had been killed.
Streets near the shopping mall were shut down, the BBC reported. Three police officers were reportedly among the dead.
Baghdad has been the site of a various bombings carried out by the Islamic State group in recent months as ISIS has targeted the country’s Shiite majority. A car bomb attack in the Ameen district of eastern Baghdad killed at least 17 people in September. Last week, three Sunni mosques in Iraq were bombed and partially destroyed in suspected retaliation for the execution of a Shia leader in Saudi Arabia. Most recently, three people were killed and eight others wounded when a car bomb went off early Monday near a restaurant in Baquba, about 40 miles northeast of Baghdad, security and medical sources said. ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombing.
— AFP news agency (@AFP) January 11, 2016
This is a developing story…