Attacks in Iraq kill 56 people; ISIS claims responsibility

BAGHDAD -- The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria claimed responsibility on Tuesday for a series of attacks that rocked different parts of Iraq and killed at least 56 people the night before.

The extremist group said a suicide bomber blew up his explosives-laden car among Shiite militia members in the Shiite-majority town of al-Khales in the country's eastern Diyala province. Iraqi officials said the attack hit a commercial area, killing at least 32 people and wounding 58 others.

It added that militants also detonated a car bomb in Baghdad's northeastern neighborhood of Husseiniya that killed at least 14 people and wounded 25 others.

The group also claimed responsibility for an attack on Shiites in Basra's southwest suburb of al-Zubair, killing at least 10 people. The Sunni-dominated al-Zubair is located 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of Basra.

The Associated Press could not immediately verify the authenticity of the statements, issued on different Twitter accounts, but its language and phrasing is consistent with past IS claims of responsibility.

ISIS controls large swaths of Iraq's north and west, including its second-largest city of Mosul and most of Anbar province. It regularly targets Shiite neighborhoods and government installations in an effort to destabilize the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

A new ISIS affiliate also struck in Yemen with suicide car bombings that targeted exiled Yemeni officials and the Saudi and Emerati troops backing them. The suicide car bombings killed at least 15 people, authorities said.

The addition of the extremist ISIS group, which holds a third of Syria and Iraq in its self-declared "caliphate," only would add further chaos to the civil war gripping the Arab world's poorest country. Up until Tuesday, the Sunni extremists largely targeted Shiites in Yemen as a myriad of forces fought over the ouster of internationally recognized President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi by the Shiite rebels known as Houthis.