At least 27 people have been killed and more than 50 injured by two suicide bombers who attacked a market in central Baghdad. Many of the victims were shopkeepers who had gathered around a cart selling breakfast when explosions happened, according to one witness. The market in the al Sinek neighbourhood is on Rasheed Street, which is one of the main thoroughfares in the Iraqi capital. The area, packed with shops and markets, would have been targeted at a time when it was heaving with people.
They were gathered near a cart selling breakfast when the explosions went off.
Local shopkeeper Ibrahim Mohammed Ali speaking to the AFP news agency
It is the deadliest attack on the city since mid-October when a man blew himself up at a funeral, killing more than 30 people. Islamic State claimed to have been behind that attack. Baghdad has been on alert since the start of the offensive to re-take the city of Mosul in the north from IS. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Haider al Abadi said the Mosul operation would take at least three months more, despite his previous promises that it would be completed before 2017. Thousands of people are expected on the streets of the capital tonight to see in the New Year. It is the second time Baghdad will hold New Year celebrations since a curfew that lasted for years was lifted in 2015.