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Baghdad Sees Massive Wave Of Terrorism Despite Iraqi Army Guarding The Capital

REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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An Islamic State bombing campaign has killed more than 140 people in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad in the past week, despite the fact half of the Iraqi Security Forces guard the city.

The most recent series of attacks occurred Tuesday, with four separate city districts targeted by ISIS terrorists. The attacks come just days after an uprising by forces loyal to Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stormed parliament and various government buildings earlier this month. Baghdad has grown increasingly unstable in recent weeks, despite the Pentagon’s confirmation last week that half of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are based in the city.

Tuesday’s first attack saw terrorists employ a delayed secondary bombing tactic common among al-Qaida and ISIS terrorists. After an initial roadside bomb was detonated outside a market, a female suicide bomber detonated herself in the crowd that attempted to rescue the victims of the initial attack.

The second vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) attack targeted the al-Rasheed district, killing eight and wounding 22.

Another VBIED piloted by a terrorist in the Sadr City neighborhood, killed 18 and injured 35. Finally, a fourth attack on a restaurant in the Habibia district killed nine.

All four of the targeted areas are predominantly inhabited by Shia Muslims. Thus far, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the al-Shaab and Sadr City attacks. ISIS purposefully targets Shia populations, as the organization’s theology sees Shiites as heretical.

Baghdad saw its deadliest terrorist attack of the year May 11, when three suicide bombers killed 80 people, bringing last week’s death toll to more than 140.

ISIS suicide attacks have been both relentless and increasing since the terrorist group began losing significant ground to coalition forces participating in Operation Inherent Resolve in recent months. Various security experts and analysts predicted in January that ISIS would probably become increasingly aggressive as they continued to lose territory after their defeat in Ramadi last December.

There is some concern that ISIS may attempt to go on the offensive during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan — set to begin on June 5 — as the terrorist group has historically done.

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