At least 35 people were killed and around 90 injured in an attack on a Baghdad square. Two suicide bombers set off their suicide bomb belts in intervals sending people scattering across Tayaran Square – the center of the Iraqi capital where day laborers gather to look for work. A number of laborers are reported to be among the dead and injured.
In 2014, the Iraqi government had declared that it had retaken all territory overrun by militants. Even attacks on the city had become less frequent since the Islamic State group lost its strongholds in Iraq last year.
The first bomber detonated his device at around 10:00 (07:00 GMT). Video footages circulated on social media show the moment of the first blast and people scattering through stalls and carrying at least one person who seems to be injured. Husain Abdallah, an eyewitness stated that the bomber had just got off a bus.
While the people were running and trying to escape, the second bomb went off. A video recorded on a mobile phone captured the moment of the second attack and the crowd panic that followed. As is often the case, the attacks were designed to maximize casualties with one bomb swiftly followed by another. Large groups of construction workers assemble to find work every morning on Tayaran and have also been targeted in the past by militants.
In another update, a bomb attack in Baghdad in the north-eastern district of Jamila on Monday killed two people and injured six others as per the medical and security sources.No group owned the bombing attacks but usually, such attacks are attributed to the IS, which regards members of majority Shia Muslim community of Iraq as heretics.
Success by Iraqi forces in defeating IS as a territorial threat is likely to have caused the decrease in attacks recently since bomb factories in west of Baghdad can no longer function. However, there are fears that the militants will resort to guerrilla tactics that they have used for so long.
A suicide bomb attack on a checkpoint in the north of the city on Saturday killed at least five people, police said. Since 2011, attacks on the square have claimed the lives of 180 people, often in the run-up to elections or immediately after the polls, says Iraqi analyst Hisham al-Hashemi. He added that their aim is to create chaos and exacerbate sectarian divisions.
Other militant attacks in recent years have been even deadlier: The deadliest attack by a single bomber in which more than 300 civilians were killed and hundreds injured in July 2016 in an IS suicide truck bomb attack on Baghdad’s Shia district of Karrada – the deadliest attack by a single bomber in Iraq’s history.
Around 125 people which included many of the Shia pilgrims from Iran and Afghanistan were killed by IS in a suicide car bombing at a petrol station in Hilla. A truck bombing in a marketplace killed up to 120 and was claimed by IS. Multiple bombings in Baghdad targeted mainly Shia districts and killed 93 people out of which two attacks were claimed by IS. In May 2016, three bombings across Baghdad killed as many as 77 people.