Devastating Blast in Town near Baghdad; 257 Killed across Iraq

Updated at 1:20 p.m. EDT, July 18, 2015

According to a Western ordnance expert working in Iraq, there is recent evidence that the Islamic State militants are using chemical weapons, in the form of chlorine bombs, against Kurdish targets in Iraq and Syria. Although chlorine bombs have been used in the past, the militants have apparently now learned to fire them across great distances.

At least 257 were killed and 180 were wounded:

A “devastating” car bomb attack at a market in Khan Bani Saad left 130 dead, including children, and wounded around 170 more. Several buildings were destroyed, so the casualty toll could climb higher. At the time of the blast, shoppers were gathering supplies for the usual festivities that mark the end of the Ramadan holiday month. Although this is usually a happy time, Diyala province authorities have declared a mourning period and canceled all festivities.

In Baghdad, a roadside bomb killed one militiaman and wounded seven more in Arab Jabour.

The Iraqi government is looking into banning weapons in Basra after recent protests left one dead and three wounded.

Security forces killed 57 militants in Husayba.

Airstrikes in Sinjar left 25 militants dead.

In Haditha, an airstrike left 25 militants dead.

Eight militants were killed in Bartala.

In Muqdadiya, gunmen killed three militiamen.

Unidentified gunmen killed three militants in Mosul.

Two militants were killed in Fatha.

In Saqlawiya, two snipers were shot dead.

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for since 2006.