IS claims responsibility for Baghdad Wednesday attack

The truck bomb targeted a police checkpoint on the Iraqi capital's main southern entrance on Wednesday night.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic State (IS) militant group, in most cases, had been behind such suicide deadly attacks targeting crowded markets, cafes and mosques, across Iraq. The Tigris River separates Mosul into its eastern and western sector.

The UN said earlier this month that some 600,000 civilians were still in west Mosul, 400,000 of them trapped in siege-like conditions in the Old City.

UNAMI spokesman Samir Ghattas says Gutterres will meet Iraq's president, prime minster and Parliament speaker before heading north to visit displaced persons camps.

Widespread displacement is another issue, with Iraqi authorities saying that more than 200,000 people have fled west Mosul since February.

More news: Bears player calls Hernandez 'my guy' at double-murder trial

"The distance between IS and us is 50 metres, yesterday, we killed four IS fighters and right now their bodies are in the street". But Iraqi forces, with the backing of the US-led airstrikes, have since recaptured much of the area.

Iraqi forces have won back control of most cities that fell to the ultra-hardline Sunni group, and have been battling to recapture Mosul since October, with the backing of a US -led coalition.The militants have been dislodged from almost three quarters of the city but they remain in control of the densely populated old center.

Remaining in the city has posed deadly danger to residents - the United Nations human rights office said that more than 300 civilians were killed in west Mosul in a little over a month.

The militants have suffered a string of defeats over the past two years in the lead up to the Mosul operation, but have continued to regularly launch attacks in and around Baghdad. A series of large-scale bombings claimed by IS has also struck Baghdad since the operation to retake Mosul began.

  • Adam Floyd