Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Sitrep - 6 July, 2016

Enormous explosions tore across the bustling markets of central Baghdad on July 2 marking a dark coda to a particularly deadly month of Ramadan (finishing on July 5). It was the highest casualty attack in the Iraqi capital since 2007, killing more than 210 people in an Islamic State (IS) truck bomb targeting restaurant attendees breaking their fast late in the evening.

A second bomb killed five people in a predominantly Shiite are north of the capital. According to UN figures, acts of terror in Iraq have killed a total of 662 people and injured 1457 others just in the month of June. Baghdad was the hardest hit with 230 people dead last month. Prime minister Haider al-Abadi visited the scene of the latest bombings, but angry crowds forced his motorcade away indicating there is still major tension in Baghdad’s politics.

The attacks follow the recent success by the Iraqi Security Forces in securing Fallujah, a city 60 kilometres west of Baghdad. It was controlled by IS for months and was being used as a staging ground for bombings in the past. IS is now lashing out to show its strength despite losing the city, and because its core territories in Iraq and Syria are also under pressure. US-backed forces are pushing towards IS’ de-facto capital of Raqqa and its largest city of Mosul.

Elsewhere, IS claimed an attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport which killed 45 people. Central Asian attackers from Former Soviet Union countries conducted the assault, indicating that particular part of the world may be next in line to break down. A restaurant in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka was also the site of a deadly hostage event which killed 28 people and claimed by an IS affiliate.

A wave of bombings across Saudi Arabia this week is also cause for concern, two of them targeted the Islamic holy site of Medina and another against the US Consulate in Jeddah. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the Saudi bombings, but security raids against suspected militants can be expected. Attacks targeting Shiite communities in the east of the country have been escalating at a time when Riyadh’s central control is weakening due to low oil prices.

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