Officials say three suicide bombings claimed by Islamic State across Baghdad killed at least 80 people, which a U.S. Major General based in Iraq calls ''desperate acts.'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: A U.S. Major General based in Iraq offers his condolences to the families of Wednesday's (May 11) bombing victims and says the deadly attacks are "desperate acts." "As we've seen, as the enemy loses more and more terrain, they resort to some of these desperate acts," said Major General Gary J. Volesky, Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell. Three suicide bombings claimed by Islamic State across Baghdad killed at least 80 people on Wednesday, Iraqi police and hospital sources said, in the deadliest attacks in the Iraqi capital this year. Security has gradually improved in Baghdad, which was the target of daily bombings a decade ago, but violence against security forces and Shi'ite Muslim civilians is still frequent. Large blasts sometimes set off reprisal attacks against the minority Sunni community. The fight against Islamic State, which seized about a third of Iraq's territory in 2014, has exacerbated a long-running sectarian conflict in Iraq mostly between Sunnis and the Shi'ite majority that came to power after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Such violence threatens to undermine U.S.-backed efforts to defeat the militant group. Wednesday's bombings could also intensify pressure on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to resolve a political crisis that has crippled the government for more than a month. The first attack, a suicide car bomb at a bustling market in the Shi'ite Muslim area of Sadr City, killed 55 people during morning rush hour and wounded 68. Two more blasts struck at the end of the working day. A suicide bomber stormed a security checkpoint leading into Kadhimiya, a northwestern area housing one of the holiest sites in Shi'ite Islam, killing 17 and wounding more than 30. Another bomb went off at a checkpoint on a commercial thoroughfare in a predominantly Sunni district of western Baghdad, killing eight and wounding 20.