The Islamic State group reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack on a shopping centre in Baghdad, Iraq, that killed 18 people and injured 40 others on Monday. At least four Iraqi police officers were among the deceased.

On Monday, gunmen exploded a car bomb and one of them detonated his explosive vest at the entrance of Jawhara Mall in Baghdad. Others entered the mall and opened fire at the people, according to AFP reports.

"People started running into the shops to hide, but (the militants) followed them in and opened fire without mercy," Reuters quoted Hani Fikrat Abdel Hussein, a shop-owner, as saying.

The Isis said in a statement that a car bomb and four Isis fighters carried out the attack to target the Shi'ite Muslims in the area. However, the Iraqi officials have reportedly said that there were seven attackers, including the suicide bomber. 

Iraqi officials also rejected the reports of hostage situation in the mall, Reuters reported. Security forces managed to recover the wounded people from inside the mall and brought the situation under control, a senior security official reportedly said. The attack lasted for more than an hour.

The attack on the Baghdad mall was followed by bomb blasts at two places; one in eastern town of Muqdadiya and another in southeastern Baghdad suburb, AP cited police and hospital sources.

At least 24 people were killed and 52 injured when two suicide bombers attacked a cafe in Muqdadiya. Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces and many fighters were reportedly among the deceased. Five people were killed and 12 others injured in a car bomb blast in southeast Baghdad.

The Iraqi military had in December declared victory over the Isis when they defeated the jihadist extremists in Ramadi and forced them out of the city. However, the Islamic State group still has strongholds in parts of northern and western Iraq.