ISIS Claims Baghdad Twin Bombing That Killed 32, Wounded 110

Clay Curtis
January 22, 2021

Military spokesman Yahya Rasool said two suicide bombers detonated their explosives as they were being pursued by security forces.

The open-air market, where second-hand clothes are sold at stalls, had been teeming with people after the lifting of almost a year of Covid-19 restrictions across the country.

Suicide bombings have become rare in Baghdad since IS was militarily defeated in the region at the end of 2017.

Iraq has seen attacks perpetrated by both the Islamic State group and militia groups in recent months.

Iraq's health minister Hassan Mohammed al-Tamimi said at least 32 people were killed and 110 were wounded in the attack.

It had been teeming with people following almost a year of restrictions imposed in a bid to halt the spread of Covid-19.

The last deadly suicide attack in Baghdad was in the same square in January 2018, when 35 people were killed.

The second bomber blew himself up as others came to help the victims, according to the ministry.

Iraq's health ministry said it had mobilised paramedics around the city.

Suicide bombings had been commonplace in Baghdad during the sectarian bloodletting that followed the US-led invasion of 2003.

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Later on, as militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group swept across much of the country, its members also targeted the capital. Fewer checkpoints and blast walls mean, "you're slowly seeing the beauty of the city come back to life", he says.

Still, ISIS' sleeper cells have continued to operate in desert and mountain areas, typically targeting security forces or state infrastructure with low-casualty attacks.

"I support maintaining a small number of USA troops to carry out a limited mission focused on advising and assisting Iraqi counter-terrorism forces to deal with the continuing threat from ISIS", he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The attack comes as Iraqis prepare for an election, events often preceded by bombings and assassinations.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi had announced in July that early polls would be held to meet the demands of anti-government protesters.

Additionally, the US-led coalition that had been supporting Iraq's campaign against Islamic State has significantly drawn down its troop levels over the past year, citing the increased capabilities of Iraqi troops.

But Iraq's Cabinet on Tuesday postponed the election to Oct 10 to give the electoral authorities more time to register voters and new parties.

Some 2,500 US soldiers remain in Iraq and incoming Defense Secretary General Lloyd Austin said during his confirmation hearing that he is still concerned about the threat the Islamic State poses in the region.

Pope Francis, who is due to visit Iraq in March, released a statement also condemning the attacks as a "senseless act of brutality".

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