Baghdad explosion leaves more than 200 dead

An explosion rocked central Baghdad just past midnight on Sunday in front of a Shiite mosque in the neighborhood of Karrada, leaving the death toll at about 200 people dead and around 200 injured.

As reported by the Washington Post, as Muslims shopped, ate, and carried out Ramadan celebrations in the downtown center, a suicide bomber around 1:30 a.m. detonated a vehicle carrying several explosives. It caused significant damage to the mosque and set several nearby buildings on fire. Mohammed al-Rubaie, deputy head of Baghdad Provincial Council’s committee reported that it has left around 200 people dead and more than 200 injured, with the count continuing to rise as bodies are pulled from the rubble and individuals succumb to their injuries.

On Sunday, the Karrada shopping center was closed off because of receiving information of a possible attack, but the street was reopened an hour or so later. Upon learning this information, residents responded in anger because the government knew about it, but opted to do nothing to prevent the attack. After the bombing, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the site on Sunday and was greeted by an angry mob of citizens who hurled several objects at his convoy.

This attack, coming on the heels of the victory by Iraqi security forces over IS in the liberation of Fallujah, marks the third attack in a week in which Islamic State has claimed responsibility. The attack on the Istanbul Ataturk Airport in Turkey last week left more than 35 people dead and about 150 wounded. Three suicide bombers detonated their vests at the airport Tuesday night—one in the parking lot and two in the international terminal. While IS has not claimed responsibility for this attack, it is believed the terror organization was behind it.

Following that attack on Saturday, in Bangladesh, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group claimed responsibility for killing twenty hostages in what turned out to be a 10-hour standoff. Most of the victims were hacked by the gunmen responsible for the attack. Even though ISIL claimed responsibility for this attack, the Bangladesh government denies its involvement, “The Bangladesh government continues to deny that ISIL could have any connection or presence in Bangladesh, so if ISIL wants to make a statement that ‘we are in Bangladesh and are with influence and impact’ then this is probably their perfect opportunity,” Talha Ahmed, a commentator on Bangladeshi affairs, told Al Jazeera.

This latest bombing has been recorded as the single most fatal attack in years, even surpassing the death toll from the attacks in Paris, which left 130 dead. In May, the Islamic State allegedly released a recording urging for more attacks against the West and other non-believers during the month of Ramadan, which is a period of praying and fasting for Muslims.

Iraqi citizens continue to blame the local government for failing to prevent these attacks. Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, is the main leader behind the protests, calling for the removal of all current government ministers since they do nothing to keep Iraq’s citizens safe from these bombings.


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