At least 18 people were killed and several others wounded Monday in a bomb blast in a busy market in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, a security official told AFP.
The blast in the densely populated majority-Shiite suburb came as shoppers crowded the market buying food ahead of the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha.
Video footage shared on social media of the aftermath of the blast showed bloodied victims and people screaming.
“A terror attack using a locally-made IED (improvised explosive device) in Woheilat Market in Sadr City, in east Baghdad, left several victims dead and others injured,” Iraq’s interior ministry said in a statement.
Security officials told AFP the death toll was at least 18, but feared the number killed may rise further.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Baghdad Operations Command, a joint military and interior ministry security body, said it had launched an investigation into Monday’s attack.
In January, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a rare twin suicide bombing that killed 32 people — also at a crowded market in Baghdad.
That blast was the city’s deadliest attack in three years.
Such violence was commonplace in Baghdad during the sectarian bloodletting that followed the US-led invasion of 2003, and later on as IS swept across much of Iraq and also targeted the capital.
But after years of deadly violence, militant attacks have become relatively rare in the capital Baghdad.
Iraq declared IS defeated at the end of 2017 after a fierce three-year campaign.
But the group’s sleeper cells have continued to operate in desert and mountain areas, typically targeting security forces or state infrastructure with low casualty attacks.
Sadr City is named after revered Ayatollah Mohamed Sadr.
His son, Moqtada Sadr — a firebrand cleric with millions of followers and in command of paramilitary groups — is a crucial player in Iraqi politics who has often protested against the influence of both the United States and Iran.
The boycott by Sadr of upcoming elections slated for October is a blow to Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi, who had called the early vote in response to demands by pro-democracy activists.