NEW DELHI: At least 51 people were killed in a spate of attacks in and around Baghdad, as the Islamic State (also known as Daesh or ISIS) claimed responsibility and threatened there was ‘worse to come.’

18 people were killed and dozens wounded as gunmen took hostages in a shopping mall located in a busy commercial area of Baghdad al-Jadida, a populous Shiite-majority area on the eastern edge of the city. Seven policemen were killed in the attack. ive more people were shot dead by the gunmen storming the mall, and six others were killed when those same assailants detonated their explosive vests, reports said.

Two bombs later went off in the eastern town of Muqdadiya, where at least 23 people were killed and 51 injured. A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-filled vest inside a casino in the town. A car bomb parked outside then went off as medics and civilians gathered at the site of the first blast. Another blast in a southeastern Baghdad suburb of Nahrawan killed seven more people and injured 15 others.

A day earlier, three three people were killed when a car bomb went off near a restaurant in Baquba, 65km northeast of Baghdad. Officials imposed a curfew for all of Diyala province, where Muqdadiya and Baquba are located.

The latest attacks indicate a worrying presence of ISIS militants in and around the Iraqi capital, whilst the fight against the militant group rages across the country.

Islamic State claimed the attack saying that it targeted “rejectionist” -- a derogatory term the group uses to describe Shia Muslims, and said that there was “worse to come.”

The attacks come as the Iraqi army aided by a US led western coalition sees success in Iraq, beating back the militants from Ramadi last month, with all eyes now trained on Mosul where the Iraqi government is mounting a fight. Further, Islamic State fighters also suffered a setback in Kirkuk province, as Kurdish fighters drove them out of the town of Hawija.

The success in Ramada was all the more significant as it was the first city recaptured by the Iraqi army without the help of militias. Ramadi is a mainly Sunni Arab city about 55 miles (90km) west of Baghdad. The sectarian nature of the city made the fight even more difficult, as the government decided not to use Shia peshmerga forces that had helped it recapture Tikrit for fear of increasing sectarian tensions.

The use of Shia militias in recapturing Sunni majority locations has been problematic as it has stoked sectarian tensions -- which the mainstream narrative believes contributed to the rise of the Islamic State in the first place.

The government, led by a Shi’ite Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, said Ramadi would be handed over to local police, a Sunni tribal force once it was secured as a measure meant to win over the community to the fight against Islamic State.

The attacks, however, symbolise that the fight is far from over, as Monday’s death toll was the largest in three months. Interior ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan blamed “this terrorist group after they suffered heavy losses by the security forces”, without naming Isis.

Meanwhile on Monday, US aircraft bombed an Islamic State distribution site in Iraq. "The bulk cash distribution site was used by ISIL to distribute money to fund terrorist activities," Lieutenant Commander Ben Tisdale, a U.S. Central Command spokesman, said in a statement, using an acronym for the militant group.