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A suicide bombing rocked Baghdad just before France's president was set to arriveby Circa News
Global News

A suicide bomber blew up his car full of explosives in the middle of a busy market in Baghdad, Iraq, killing at least 18 people on Monday morning, officials said.

French President Francois Hollande was set to arrive in Iraq just hours later. 

No group claimed responsibility for the attack as of 6:30 a.m. EST, but ISIS has carried out similar attacks in the area. One such attack on Saturday killed at least 28 people, and another on Sunday south of the city killed at least nine.

"The results are there: Daesh is in retreat and the battle of Mosul is engaged."

Francois Hollande (translated)

Iraq faces near-daily attacks from ISIS, many in Baghdad. Iraq and France are both part of the anti-ISIS coalition in the Middle East, which the U.S. leads. 

In a statement published on Twitter by the Elysee account, Hollande promised France would remain Iraq's ally and insisted ISIS (also known as Daesh) was on the ropes.

WATCH | You can see the husk of the exploded vehicle here. 

Hollande's visit to Baghdad was not canceled.

The context

Iraq continues to fight ISIS for Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. It has reclaimed roughly a quarter of the city. Senior U.S. military commander Brig. Gen. Rick Uribe said it would take about three months for Iraqi forces to finish reclaiming Mosul, but parts of the city would make for a very challenging battle, as narrow streets would prevent vehicles from entering. 

The operation to retake Mosul began Oct. 17. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.