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New Year Weekend Attacks By Islamic State Kill Scores In Iraq

Iraqi security forces and passersby inspect a charred vehicle at the site of a bomb attack in Sadr City, a majority Shi'ite neighborhood in the northeast of the capital, Baghdad, on January 2.

The Islamic State (IS) extremist group has launched multiple attacks in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities at the turn of the year that have killed scores of people.

At least 35 people were killed and dozens more wounded by an explosion in a packed square in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on January 2.

The blast from a car bomb occurred at an intersection in the northeastern Shi'ite neighborhood of Sadr City and reportedly struck a place where many day laborers wait for jobs.

In another attack in Samarra, 100 kilometers north of Baghdad, officials said multiple gunmen wearing suicide vests took over two police stations late on January 2, killing at least seven policemen.

Security forces said they regained control after killing six militants.

IS, which has been locked in a bitter battle with government forces for control of the northern city of Mosul, claimed responsibility for both attacks via its Amaq news agency.

Other IS attacks in Baghdad in recent days targeted predominantly Shi'a areas.

Three bombs killed 29 people in the capital on December 31 and an attack by two suicide bombers at a checkpoint the following day in the southern city of Najaf -- a holy city for Shi'a -- killed at least eight people.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP