Sunday, July 3, 2016

Meanwhile In Baghdad

Islamic State militants are still very much operating in Iraq, and as retaliation for Iraqi forces taking back the besieged city of Falluja this week, suicide bombers struck at Baghdad shopping area killing nearly 100 and injuring twice that many.

The attack is the deadliest since U.S.-backed Iraqi forces last month scored a major victory when it dislodged Islamic State from their stronghold of Falluja, an hour's drive west of the capital.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had ordered the offensive after a series of deadly bombings in Baghdad, saying Falluja served as a launchpad for such attacks on the capital. However, bombings have continued.

A convoy carrying Abadi who had come to tour the site of the bombings was pelted with stones and bottles by residents, angry at what they felt were false promises of better security.

A refrigerator truck packed with explosives blew up in the central district of Karrada, killing 91 people and injuring at least 200. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement circulated online by supporters of the ultra-hard line Sunni group. It said the blast was a suicide bombing.

Karrada was busy at the time as Iraqis eat out and shop late during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which ends next week with the Eid al-Fitr festival.

Videos posted on social media showed people running after the SUV convoy of Abadi as he departed Karrada after touring the scene, throwing pavement stones, bottles of water, empty buckets and slippers, venting their anger at the inability of the security forces to protect the area.

Another video posted on social media showed a large blaze in the main street of Karrada, a largely Shi'ite district with a small Christian community and a few Sunni mosques.

I have to say, if a refrigerator truck full of explosives detonated in Paris or Brussels or London and killed 95 people, and Islamic State took credit for it, we'd have international coverage of the attack for weeks, not to mention Republicans talking about thoughts and prayers whenever possible.

But it happened in Baghdad, so nobody cares.

Oh well.

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