Two bombs exploded in a busy market area in central

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for what was the deadliest attack to hit the capital since mid-October but the Islamic State jihadist group has claimed nearly all such bombings.

Baghdad has been on high alert since the start on October 17 of an offensive, Iraq's largest military operation in years, to retake the northern jihadist stronghold of Mosul.

The area that was targeted on Saturday is packed with wholesale markets and usually teeming with daily labourers unloading vans and wheeling carts around.