– Reports have it that Iraqis late on Saturday, July 2 night in central Baghdad to eat, shop and just be together to celebrate one of the last evenings of the month of Ramadan, a huge bomb exploded and killed at least 123 people – This is the third mass killing of civilians in three different countries carried out by the Islamic State in recent days Share on Facebook Share on Twitter suicide bombing Scene of suicide bombing NewYork Times reports that the suicide bombing happened briefly after 12 am in the middle-class neighbourhood of Karrada, which is a busy area of cafes, shops and hotels, and was the deadliest single attack in Baghdad in 2016

– Airforce boss anthe first major assault in the capital since Iraqi Forces retook Falluja from ISIS late last month. Falluja had been in the hands of the Islamic State for two-and-a-half years, longer than any other in Iraq or Syria, and many Iraqis had feared that after its liberation the Islamic State would strike back with more terror attacks in Baghdad. The Sunni extremists of the Islamic State almost immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, saying it had killed a gathering of Shiite Muslims. But Karrada is a mixed area where Iraqis of all identities gather to do ordinary things: mainly to shop and eat.

Rescue workers and residents trying to evacuate dead bodies from the blast scene The bombing came just after the Islamic State, also known as ISIL, took responsibility for an attack on a restaurant in Bangladesh that left 20 people dead, some of them hacked apart by swords and knives. And it followed by a few days the coordinated suicide attack on Istanbul’s main airport that killed more than 40 people, for which Turkish authorities blamed the Islamic State, although the terrorist group itself did not claim responsibility. By daybreak on Sunday in Baghdad, fires were still burning at the bombing site, while hospitals tended to the wounded, and mourners prepared for funerals. Some bodies were believed to be still buried in the rubble of a shopping mall. Along with the deaths, at least 140 people were injured, officials said Sunday afternoon. Baghdad Operations Command, which is in charge of security in the capital, was quick to announce that it had arrested a terrorist “cell” in the city that was linked to the bombing. Many of the victims were children — the explosion struck near a three-story complex of cafes and shops where families were celebrating a successful end of the school year, residents said — and on Sunday dozens of people were still unaccounted for. One man named Omar Adil said that his two brothers, Ghaith and Mustafa, were missing. Five people from a single family in Sadr City, a large, poor Shiite neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, were also missing.
The scenes were another brutal illustration of the paradox Iraq faces as its security forces, backed by American airstrikes, make gains against the Islamic State: As more territory is won back, the group is reverting to its roots as a guerrilla insurgency, turning Baghdad once again into an urban killing field. The bombing was an abrupt ending to the brief victory lap that Iraq’s beleaguered prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, was enjoying following the recapture of Falluja. When he visited the bombing site on Sunday morning, people threw rocks and shoes — a particular insult in the Arab world — at his convoy and yelled “thief,” an epithet directed as much at Iraq’s dysfunctional and corrupt political class as it was to Mr. Abadi personally. Ali Ahmed, 25, who owns a shop close to where the attack happened, said he had carried the bodies of children out of the rubble. He voiced anger at the security forces for failing to stop the bomber, and questioned why the street, which had been closed off earlier in the evening, was reopened around midnight. “Thank God I managed to hit Abadi with stones to take revenge for the kids,” he said. The anger swelling on Sunday perhaps presaged a resumption of street unrest in Baghdad that had calmed amid Ramadan and the military operations in Falluja. Beginning last summer a street protest movement gathered steam, demanding that Mr. Abadi root out corruption, end the system of handing out government posts based on sect and improve services. Mr. Abadi made several proposals but has been unable to make meaningful changes in the face of opposition from other political blocs worried about losing their influence. The protest movement ebbed and flowed over the months, and at various times different factions sought to capitalize on the growing anger of Iraq’s citizens. Earlier this year the powerful Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, who commands a following among millions of the country’s Shiite underclass, tried to seize the movement, and twice his followers stormed the fortified Green Zone, the citadel of government that houses the Parliament building, Mr. Abadi’s office and embassies. The war on the terrorist group has continued for a long time .
Source: New York Times