More than 50 bodies, including 2 children, found in Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Iraq witnessed another violent day Wednesday as the country’s security and political crises deepen.
More than 50 unidentified bodies were found in the predominantly Shiite town of Alexandria on Wednesday, Iraqi security officials said.
The bodies of two children were among the dozens found in different parts of the town.
Details about the circumstances of the deaths were not immediately available, and officials did not say when the people may have been killed.
The discoveries follow weeks of carnage across the country as Iraqi forces battle radical Sunni militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
ISIS, an al Qaeda splinter group, has seized large areas of northern and western Iraq in an offensive that began last month. The terror group has also made major gains in Syria in its quest to establish an Islamic state spanning both countries.
ISIS claimed responsibility for recent suicide bombings in Baghdad that killed almost two dozen people, according to SITE Intelligence, which monitors terrorist groups.
Not far from Alexandria, at least five people were killed and 17 wounded by three car bombs that exploded in front of a courthouse in the town of Hilla, security and medical officials said.
Hilla is about 92 kilometers (57 miles) south of Baghdad, and is the first sizable town south of the capital.
The explosions occurred one right after another, the officials said.
The victims were all civilians, Hilla resident Abu Sajad told CNN.
Security in Hilla has deteriorated since the start of fighting between security forces and militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in nearby Jurf al-Sakhar, he said.
“We are witnessing increase in government forces deploying in Hilla’s streets daily, and we are staying up every night to give these forces the support in case there will be a need for us if ISIS show up in Hilla,” Sajad said.
There is a major military base near the city, a likely target for ISIS, which could use it to isolate Baghdad from the south.
By Hamdi Alkhshali and Holly Yan
CNN’s Chelsea J. Carter contributed to this report.