BAGHDAD: The death toll from car bombs that targeted two prominent hotels in Baghdad a day earlier rose to 15 people, with another 42 wounded, Iraqi officials said Friday, as the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Two separate car bombs went off late Thursday in the parking lots of the Cristal, formerly Sheraton, and Babil hotels. Officials initially said 10 people were killed and 27 wounded, but the casualty figures rose overnight.
The two explosions shattered the windows of the recently renovated hotels and destroyed several cars. Baghdad’s top hotels are usually crowded on Thursday nights with people attending weddings and parties.
The ability of extremists to target heavily secured buildings in the heart of the capital brutally underscored the city’s lingering vulnerability. The IS group has been able to carry out regular attacks in and around Baghdad, mainly targeting the security forces and the country’s Shiite majority, while battling Iraqi forces on multiple fronts elsewhere in the country.
Police and hospital officials said a roadside bomb hit a commuter bus in eastern Baghdad on Friday, killing three passengers and wounding 10.
Police said the two hotel bombs were detonated by remote control and that a third car bomb near the Babil Hotel was discovered and defused early Friday. A police officer blamed the infiltration on the negligence of the hotel guards and the weak security measures adopted by police in Baghdad.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.