ISIS claims Baghdad hotel car bombings that killed nine

 BAGHDAD (AFP) – The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group on Friday claimed responsibility for car bombings at two upscale Baghdad hotels that officials said killed at least nine people and wounded dozens.

Militants were able to transport the bombs, which exploded just before midnight (2100 GMT) on Thursday and were heard across the city centre, inside the walled compounds of the Ishtar and Babylon hotels in central Baghdad.

ISIS – which has overrun swathes of territory north and west of Baghdad since June last year – said in an online statement that suicide bombers had been ready to detonate the bombs but were able to leave them and avoid detection.

The blast at the Ishtar – formerly a Sheraton – shattered windows of the recently renovated hotel, turning rows of expensive cars and SUVs into charred, twisted metal.