A devastating double bombing attack in Baghdad on the 31st of December 2016, has killed 27 people and left 53 injured. The attack took place at the Al Sinak market, near the centre of Baghdad. The targeted area was known for its many workshops and wholesale markets and was usually teeming with delivery trucks and labourers. Current reports indicate that an initial bomb was detonated at the entrance of the market, with a suicide bomber detonating a second after a crowd had formed. “Many of the victims were people from the spare parts shops in the area, they were gathered near a cart selling breakfast when the explosions went off,” Ibrahim Mohammed Ali, a nearby shop, reported to the Telegraph. While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack on their website.
The attack comes in a period of heightened alert for the Iraqi government. ISIS has launched several attacks in the last few months in a desperate effort to divert security forces away from their last major stronghold in Mosul, with this bombing being the deadliest. Despite the large injury toll, the government remains steadfast in its efforts to push ISIS out of Iraq and has moved on to its second phase of liberating the left bank of the city according to Staff Lieutenant General Abdulghani al-Assadi, a senior officer in Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service. The liberation of the city would end all of ISIS’s occupation in Iraq and could mean an end to the caliphate altogether. Haider al- Abadi, the Iraqi Prime Minister, had vowed to push ISIS out of Iraq by the end of 2016 but had encountered fierce resistance in Mosul. He informed a news conference recently that he would need an additional three months to push ISIS forces out.
ISIS has so far resisted all attempts to be removed in some fierce fighting, but coalition forces continue to slowly drive them out of the city. The coalition forces include Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni Arab tribesmen and Shia militiamen as well as US bombers and military advisers. While the government-coalition forces outnumber their forces, ISIS has had more than two years to develop defences that are now deeply entrenched. US air support has also been hampered by the massive amounts of civilians in the city. However, Iraqi forces had successfully cleared areas in the city’s east and north they had recaptured a day earlier. This shows that while ISIS continues to to divert the army with civilian attacks, the government forces are still winning the fight to rid them from the country albeit at a slower pace than intended.
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