Iraqi people carry a wounded citizen after a suicide car bombing, claimed by the terrorist organization DAESH, in the Karrada neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq on July 03, 2016. (Photo: Amir Saadi/AA)
A spate of terrorist attacks occurred across the Muslim world in Ramadan, targeting 4 different countries during the blessed month. Daesh has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks and a US official has confirmed that the attacks in Turkey, Iraq and Saudi Arabia appear to have direct links to Daesh.
In Turkey’s main airport in Istanbul, Ataturk International Airport, on June 28, 45 people were killed and over 200 were injured when three bombers opened fire at the airport and two blew themselves up.
A few days later in Bangladesh, gunmen stormed a busy restaurant in Dhaka’s diplomatic area on July 1, and ordered all Bangladeshis to stand up before they began shooting, according to Bangladeshi sources. Of the 20 people killed, most of them were foreign nationals. A few days later, at least five terrorists attacked a police post near the capital with small bombs and then set upon police with “sharp weapons”, killing 3 people and wounding 14. Daesh has claimed responsibility for the attacks, although the Government believes the attacks have been orchestrated by home grown militants.
The most notable attack this month, because of its target, took place very close to the Prophet’s mosque in Madinah, killing four security officials. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks but Daesh has carried out similar bombings, targeting Shi’a Muslims and Saudi security forces in the past.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and a member of the Jordanian royal family, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said: “This is one of the holiest sites in Islam, and for such an attack to take place there, during Ramadan, can be considered a direct attack on Muslims all across the world…It is an attack on the religion itself.”
Baghdad suffered its deadliest bombing for more than a decade on July 3. Nearly 300 people lost their lives when a car bomb was detonated in Baghdad’s predominately Shi’a Muslim district of Karrada. The blast took place in a busy shopping district a few days before Eid. Iraqi Interior Minister, Mohammed Ghabban, announced his resignation. Iraqi Prime Minister, Haidar al Abadi, ordered the withdrawal of fake British-made bomb detectors from checkpoints, which have been used by security forces in Iraq for nearly five years. He also ordered a shelved corruption inquiry into their procurement to be reopened.
Within just a few days, gunmen and bombers stormed the Shrine of Sayyid Muhammad bin Ali al-Hadi in Balad near Baghdad, killing at least 40 and wounding 60. This was the first attack on a Holy site since the sectarian insurgency of 2006-2007. Abadi has announced the sacking of several senior security officials in Baghdad, including the general responsible for the capital’s security.
Intercepted Daesh messages have suggested that the group are looking to attack gathering places for non-Muslims and Shi’a Muslims in predominantly Sunni areas, and Government installations, according to a US official.
After a month-long operation to seize Fallujah, on the western outskirts of Baghdad, Abadi’s operation has been hailed as a success after the last remaining Daesh fighters fled the city in late June.
According to an Arab intelligence official in the region: “[The Karrada attack] was in part payback for Fallujah…They want Abadi to know that they still live among them. And, despite their losses, they haven’t gone anywhere.”
With the fall of Fallujah, Daesh has now lost three of the cities it seized in 2014. Mosul is the group’s last urban stronghold and less than 15% of the country is now thought to be under Daesh control.