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Double suicide bombings rocked Baghdad, Iraqi on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. According to officials at least 32 people have been killed and roughly 100 people were injured. This uncommon suicide bombing took place in the Bab al-Sharqi commercial area — located in central Baghdad.
The terrifying bombing happened amid heightened political tensions over the severe economic crisis and planned early elections. The aftermath has been described as a scene from a horror movie — with blood smeared across the floors of the busy marketplace. Clothes and shoes piled up as the survivors took stock of the disarray.
No one or group took responsibility for the double bombings at first. However, the Iraqi military officials say it was the work of the Islamic State group.
Hassan Mohammed al-Tamimi — Iraq’s Health Minister — stated that 110 victims were injured with at least 32 dead in the attack. He further stated that some of the injured suffered from serious conditions. The Iraqi military previously placed the number of dead at 28.
According to the Health Ministry, all of the local hospitals have been mobilized to treat those injured. Major General Tahsin al-Khafaji, spokesman for the Joint Operations Command — including an array of Iraqi forces — announced that the first suicide bomber loudly cried out that he was feeling ill.
The bomber did this in the middle of the bustling marketplace. His cry out prompted a crowd to gather around him. It was at that point he detonated the explosives on his belt. Shortly afterward the second bomber detonated his explosive belt.
“This is a terrorist act perpetrated by a sleeper cell of the Islamic State,” al-Khafaji stated. He further commented that the Islamic State “wanted to prove its existence” after the group suffered many blows from military operations.
These twin suicide bombings are the first that Baghdad has seen in three years. In 2018 a suicide bombing took place in the same area. That bombing happened shortly after the then-Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over the Islamic State group.
Militia groups have routinely targeted Americans in the Iraq area. These attacks would consist of the use of rockets and mortar attacks. However, these attacks have decreased since an Iran-backed armed group declared an informal truce.
The twin suicide bombings are extremely similar to assaults conducted by the Islamic State group in the past. However, the group has rarely penetrated the capital since it had been dislodged by the United Staes led coalition and Iraqi forces in 2017.
Written by Sheena Robertson
WSPA – 7 News-CBS: Twin suicide bombings rock central Baghdad, at least 32 dead; by Samya Kullab and Qassim Abdul-Zahra
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Inline Image Courtesy of Omar Chatriwala’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License