Monday 16 May, 2016 Update: Bloody Weekend in Iraq


Yesterday, as the weekend came to a close in Baghdad, the sounds of explosions were heard around the capital city. Five bombings on Sunday left thirty people dead along with a larger number injured. The largest attack came at a natural gas plant outside of Baghdad. Three car bombs were exploded at the gates of the plant. Militants and suicide bombers then charged the plant, engaging security forces and destroying gas tanks. Iraqi security forces managed to repel the attack, but not before a significant amount of damage was done.

Another attack was a car bombing in a southern Baghdad suburb that left seven people dead. The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for all of the attacks.

Yesterday’s attacks were part of an increased wave of ISIS strikes and bombings across Iraq this past week. It began last Monday a suicide bomber exploded a minibus in Baqubah killing thirteen. The activity climaxed on Wednesday when three separate car bombings in Baghdad killed 93 people and wounded over 170.

Iraqi government officials, as well as their counterparts in the West, believe the ISIS attacks are in response to setbacks in Iraq and Syria. The caliphate has been facing increased military pressure lately and has lost large swaths of territory on the ground. In spite of this ISIS is still capable of launching high profile attacks in Iraq and the attacks are coming at a time when the nation is quite vulnerable to terror attacks. The government there is beset by political deadlock and a number of security, economic, and humanitarian challenges.

Bottom Line: As ISIS faces setbacks and defeats on many fronts, it still has teeth and is capable of lashing out.

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