Twin car bombs near pet and vegetable markets in Baghdad killed 13 people on Wednesday, Iraqi officials said, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived to urge a united front against the Islamic State extremist group, AP reported.
Police officials said the two car bombs exploded simultaneously in the southeastern neighborhood of New Baghdad on Wednesday, killing 13 people, including three traffic policemen. Another 28 people were wounded and several cars were damaged in the attack.
Medical officials confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The attack came as Kerry was visiting Baghdad to press Iraq's newly sworn Shiite Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to deliver more power to wary Sunnis in order to confront the Islamic State group, which has seized much of northern and western Iraq.
The trip marks the first high-level U.S. meeting with al-Abadi since he became prime minister and marked a show of support for the embattled government nearly three years after the last U.S. troops withdrew.
The Islamic State captured large swaths of territory in western and northern Iraq in a lightning offensive earlier this year, plunging the country into its worst crisis since U.S. troops left at the end of 2011.
Washington has urged Iraq's feuding factions to set aside their differences in order to confront the insurgency.
The country's once dominant Sunni minority has long complained of being marginalized and discriminated against, and Sunni grievances with Baghdad are seen as one of the main factors fueling the rise of the Islamic State group.