The Islamic State rang in 2017 by engaging in a wave of terrorist attacks that killed approximately 110 people in Turkey and Iraq.
ISIS first engaged in three Saturday bombings in Baghdad, killing 29. The group then engaged in an mass shooting on an Istanbul nightclub the same night, killing 39 and injuring 70. ISIS killed seven policemen Sunday in the Iraqi city of Najaf. The group completed its wave of attacks by detonating a car bomb in a busy Baghdad market Monday morning, killing another 24 people.
ISIS took credit for the Istanbul attack Monday morning, the unidentified gunman is still on the run. It also claimed the Monday attack on Baghdad, which targeted Sadr City, a largely Shiite neighborhood. ISIS ideology considers Shiite Muslims heretical and has targeted Shiite populations since its rise in 2014.
ISIS’s so-called caliphate is largely dismantled, but the loss of geographic territory has not prevented the group from engaging in terror attacks in the Middle East, the U.S. and Europe. The Iraqi Security Forces, supported by the U.S. and the Operation Inherent Resolve coalition, is retaking Mosul, ISIS’s de facto capital in Iraq. Additionally, the Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria are besieging Raqqa, the terrorist group’s capital.
The wave of terrorist attacks came as French President Francois Hollande visited Iraq. France is one of the most active members of the Operation Inherent Resolve coalition. Hollande praised coalition efforts against ISIS, noting fighting the group in Iraq prevents attacks at home.
“Taking action against terrorism here in Iraq is also preventing acts of terrorism on our own soil,” said Hollande, addressing a group of French soldiers training Iraqi forces.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi noted Wednesday that ISIS could be defeated “within three months,” however, security experts have warned that the group may revert back to insurgent tactics should it lose its territory.
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