Reports of violent attacks in Iraq have become all too familiar in recent years, but a double suicide bombing on Thursday sent shockwaves around the world.
According to Fox News, the deadly attack left dozens dead and more than 100 others wounded.
Bombers target crowded marketplace
Joint Operations Command spokesman Maj. Gen. Tahsin al-Khafaji indicated that the bombers targeted Bab al-Sharqi, a commercial area in Baghdad.
The area has been the target of multiple suicide bombings in the past, in large part due to the fact that large groups of people tend to gather there. Experts in the region now worry that such attacks will once again see a rise in frequency.
As al-Khafaji explained, the first suicide bomber entered the market and began complaining that he was feeling ill. A group of people soon began to gather around him, at which point he reportedly detonated the bomb attached to him.
Soon afterward, the spokesperson said that a second attacker detonated another bomb.
Thus far, at least 32 individuals have been declared dead and 110 more wounded. The death count might continue to rise, however, as many of those injured were reportedly listed in critical condition.
“Perpetrated by the Islamic State”
At first, no group publicly claimed responsibility for the attacks. The Islamic State later confirmed its culpability in a statement through its Amaq news agency.
The statement came after al-Khafaji cited evidence that the bombings constituted “a terrorist act perpetrated by the Islamic State,” adding that ISIS “wanted to prove its existence” after years of defeats and decreased attacks. It was unclear from the terrorist group’s statement whether this was indeed its motivation for sponsoring the attacks.
Other relevant considerations include the Iraq government’s decision to hold early political elections in October and the economic crisis that the country is currently facing as a result of low oil prices.
The attacks also came on the day after President Joe Biden was sworn in, suggesting that the timing could be relevant. As one of former President Donald Trump’s final international acts, he reduced the U.S. troop count in Iraq to 2,500.
Whatever the impetus might have been, the Iraqi people responded with a show of defiance as many citizens returned to the scene of the bombings in large groups, carrying the coffins of those killed, reports revealed.