September 19, 2021

Iraq: attack claimed by ISIS kills around 30 in Baghdad market

Thirty people were killed and dozens injured on Monday July 19 in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group on a popular market in a Shiite suburb of Baghdad, Iraq, on the eve of the Muslim holiday of Eid al -Adha.

In a message published hours after the attack on its Telegram channel, ISIS claimed that one of its suicide bombers, Abu Hamza Al-Iraqi, set off his explosive belt. This is the second attack claimed by ISIS since January in the Iraqi capital, where two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a Baghdad market, killing 32 people.

The explosion occurred late Monday afternoon in one of the popular markets of Sadr City, a huge deprived Shiite neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, where many people flocked to shop on the eve of the most important Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha or Feast of the Sacrifice.

According to security and medical sources, the toll fluctuates between 28 and 30 dead, including fifteen women and children, and between 30 and 50 injured. Pieces of bodies, sandals littered the ground in the middle of the devastated stalls, and traces of blood were visible everywhere, noted an AFP photographer.

‘Sad night of Eid’

The reactions multiplied after the attack. Iraqi President Barham Saleh denounced on Twitter ‘a hate crime and unprecedented cruelty’. ‘They are targeting our civilians in Sadr City on the eve of Eid. They do not accept that people rejoice, even for a moment, ‘he condemned.

‘Sad night of Eid in Iraq’, tweeted for its part the delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Iraq.

On Twitter, the spokesperson for the international anti-jihadist coalition, Colonel Wayne Marotto, offered his ‘condolences to the families whose loved ones perished today in the terrorist attack in Baghdad’.

In May, four unclaimed attacks attributed to ISIS targeted Iraqi soldiers in towns near the capital, killing 18 people.

Iraqi Prime Minister soon to be received in the United States

ISIS, which controlled large swathes of Iraqi territory between 2014 and 2017, was defeated by Iraqi troops backed by an international anti-jihadist coalition led by the United States. Cells of this organization are however still present in the country, especially in mountainous and desert areas, and claim specific attacks. Some 3,500 foreign troops are still stationed in Iraq, including 2,500 Americans.

Sadr City, a popular suburb of Baghdad, is the stronghold of supporters of the turbulent Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr, whose influence is often decisive in Iraqi politics. A few days ago, Moqtada al-Sadr announced that he intended to boycott the legislative elections scheduled for October in a country undermined by mismanagement and government failure.

This attack also comes a few days before Prime Minister Moustafa al-Kazimi’s next visit to the United States, which will be received by US President Joe Biden on July 26.