BAGHDAD, Iraq – A bomb ripped through a busy shopping district in central Baghdad early on Sunday, killing at least eighteen people and setting stores ablaze, officials said.
The blast in the Karrada area, where many people go to shop ahead of the holiday marking the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, also wounded at least 45 people, the officials said.
Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan said the attack was a car bomb near a restaurant, and that it burned shops in the area.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic State jihadist group carries out frequent bombings targeting civilians in Baghdad and elsewhere.
IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but has since lost significant ground to Iraqi forces, most recently in Fallujah, a city west of Baghdad that was recaptured a week ago.