Three years since Iraq had announced its victory over the terrorist group Isis, the group have claimed responsibility for a large-scale attack hitting central Baghdad. The double suicide-bombing has claimed a death toll of thirty-two people, with around seventy-three people injured. In response to the attack, the terrorist group have named the bombers ‘knights of martyrdom’. Videos circulating on social media capture either one or both of the explosions, as panic and fear spread through the punters visiting the marketplace.
According to officials, the bombers blew themselves up at a second-hand clothes market in Tayaran Square. Iraq’s health ministry announced that all of its hospitals in Baghdad were on hand to treat the wounded. Typical Isis tactics were at play to maximise civilian casualties, and it is a true haunting of the days where such horrific attacks were more frequent and as ever, unpredictable.
Recently in Iraq, the U.S. has reduced its military presence in the country significantly, reducing numbers to around three thousand troops. The attack landed on the new American President, Joe Biden’s first day in the Oval office. It is difficult avoid considering, was this a heralding from the group of more imminent attacks and a return of their previous strongholds? In December 2020, Iraq had to devalue its currency by more than twenty percent, after the collapse in the global oil price has prompted a concerning financial crisis. Baghdad’s revenues have taken a real knock by halving in size, leaving the economy in a highly vulnerable state, and their capacity to respond to such violence is reduced. The World Bank in October 2020 warned that Iraq “is in a fragile situation”. They observe that “a precarious political situation, weak healthcare system, ineffective social safety nets, rampant corruption, and dilapidated service delivery, all amplify this fragility and have fuelled large-scale protests across the country.” The world stands in solidarity in condemning the attacks in Iraq, at a time when the country’s security systems might be experiencing some weaknesses.