Two car bombs claimed by ISIS kill at least 14 people and wound 37 others

Two car bombs claimed by ISIS kill at least 14 people and wound 37 others

Two car bombs claimed by Islamic State killed at least 14 people and wounded 37 others in the centre of the southern Iraqi city of Samawa.

The first blast was near a local government building and the second one about 60 metres away at a bus station, police sources said.

Unverified online photographs showed a large plume of smoke rising above the buildings as well as burnt out cars and bodies on the ground at the site of one of the blasts, including several children.

Police and firefighters carried victims on stretchers and in their arms.

IS holds positions mostly in Sunni areas of the country's north and west, far from the mainly Shia southern provinces where Samawa is located. Such attacks are relatively rare.

The rise of the ultra-hardline Sunni insurgents has exacerbated Iraq's sectarian conflict, mostly between Shias and Sunnis, which emerged after the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has ordered the arrest of demonstrators who stormed the country's Parliament building yesterday.

Supporters of Shia Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr were protesting at the failure of the Mr Abadi to approve a new cabinet as part of measures to combat corruption and ease sectarian tensions.

Elsewhere, Iraqi Kurdish and Turkmen Shiite forces have recaptured the town of Bashir from the IS.

Pressure for an operation to retake the town had grown in March after IS launched a chemical attack from Bashir on the nearby town of Taza that killed at least three children.

Kurdish peshmerga forces and Turkmen Shiites from the Popular Mobilisation units, a militia umbrella organisation, took part in the operation, officials said.