55 people were killed in Iraq in three attacks claimed by Islamic State. The targets of the attacks were a Shi’ite religious gathering, police check point and the family of a Sunni paramilitary leader opposed to Islamic State.

Islamic State’s latest attacks in a long series of assaults which have been intensifying since the extremist organization has began losing territories to Iragi government forces and Iranian-backed Sunni paramilitia have claimed the lives of 55 people and have wounded at least 44. The attacks come as Iraq’s military forces are preparing to launch an offensive on Mosul, the last city remaining under control of Islamic State.

The heaviest casualties were caused by a suicide bomber who detonated the explosive vest they were carrying in the middle of a Shi’ite religious gathering in Babhdad, taking the live of 41 people and wounding at least 33. The attack occurred inside a tent filled with people who had come to participate in Shi’ite Ashura rituals to mourn the killing of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Hussein in the 7th century.

In related incidents gunmen believed to have belonged to the extremist organization earlier today staged attacks on a police check-point and the home of a Sunni militia chief who supports the current government. The attacks resulted into the death of eight policemen and the family of the militia chief Numan al-Mujamaie as well as the wounding of 11. The assailants who stormed al-Mujamaie’s house fled the scene of the attack with security forces in pursuit and committed suicide by detonating belts containing explosives.

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