Baghdad Rocked by New Blasts Amid Deadly Wave of ISIS Attacks

May 17, 2016

By Ghassan Adnan and Asa Fitch

Another wave of explosions in the Iraqi capital killed at least 70 people on Tuesday, the latest in a surge of urban violence that has the government, beset by political crises, looking increasingly paralyzed.

Bombings almost every day over the past week in or around Baghdad have killed at least 194 people, and the political strain from the bloodshed has begun to show on U.S.-backed Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s government.

Islamic State’s success in breaching cordons around the city have politicians and security forces openly trading blame for the gaps.

The attacks represent a shift in strategy amid recent losses by the group in Anbar province, which borders Baghdad. Dislodged from the cities of Ramadi and Hit and under pressure on the front lines, militants have stepped up suicide bombings in populated areas they don’t control.

Despite the growing threat to the capital, the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State is urging Iraq not to divert any forces from the front lines, according to coalition spokesman Col. Steve Warren.

“If you want to stop these bombs, you have to keep forces in the field,” to defeat Islamic State there, he said. He added that the Iraqi government already had almost half its military deployed in Baghdad.

U.S. officials have noted the city couldn’t be made completely secure even when thousands of U.S. troops were deployed there. They describe the new string of attacks as opportunistic attempts by Islamic State to sow discord in Baghdad and gain international attention.

“We are seeing them use more traditional terror tactics to strike out in part because they’re weaker,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said. “They don’t have the same quasi-military capabilities that they once had.”

Iraqi officials and some analysts say the Sunni extremists have been aided by the poor training of Iraqi security forces as well as bad equipment, faulty intelligence and a lack of coordination among the agencies that police the city.

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One comment on “Baghdad Rocked by New Blasts Amid Deadly Wave of ISIS Attacks”

  • @OP – Islamic State’s success in breaching cordons around the city have politicians and security forces openly trading blame for the gaps.

    Once the god virus generates a red mist in the brain, fanatics lose all sense of moral responsibility. – Even ones who are supposed to have been trained in codes of medical ethics!

    An NHS doctor left his family in the UK and joined the Islamic State militant group in Syria, the BBC has learned from leaked IS recruitment papers.

    Issam Abuanza, 37 – who gained a licence to practise medicine in the UK in 2009 – left his Sheffield home, his wife and two children in 2014.

    His sister Najla has told the BBC his parents will never forgive him.

    On social media, Dr Abuanza has said he wished that a Jordanian pilot burnt alive by IS had taken longer to die.

    In a January 2015 Facebook post, Dr Abuanza celebrated the terrorist attack on the Parisian headquarters of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in which 12 members of staff were gunned down, writing: “Praise be to God for this terrorist act. God kill off their enemies, military and civilian, men and women, adult and children..”

    The following month he wrote about the killing by IS militants of a captured Jordanian pilot who was burnt alive, complaining that: “I would’ve liked for them to burn him extremely slowly and I could treat him so we could torch him once more.”

    On his Facebook page he is pictured wearing doctors’ scrubs and carrying a gun in a holster. He smiles as he raises his finger in the air – a symbolic gesture to represent the oneness of God that is commonly seen in the iconography of Islamic extremism.

    Another image shows him in combat fatigues, cradling an automatic rifle and reading the Koran.

    Dr Abuanza is a Palestinian doctor with British citizenship who spent seven years working for the NHS. He is the first practising NHS doctor known to have joined the Islamic State group.

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