The Islamic State (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the deadliest single terror attack Iraq has suffered this year, part of a killing spree the group is conducting across the Muslim world during the holy month of Ramadan.
On Saturday (July 2) evening a bomb-laden truck detonated in a shopping center in Karrada, an upper-middle class district in Baghdad. The explosions killed at least 131 people and left at least 200 injured, according to Al Jazeera. Many of the victims were women and children, who were trapping in a shopping mall and burned to death or suffocated, Al Jazeera reported.
ISIL posted a statement online claiming it was behind the attacks, writing ”the raids of the mujahedeen [holy warriors] against the Rafidha [Shiites] apostates will not stop.” Karrada is a predominately Shiite neighborhood, while ISIL has aligned itself with the Sunni sect.
The explosion in Karrada marks the most severe of a string of attacks that terrorists carried out across the Middle East during Ramadan, the month-long Muslim holiday that began this year on June 18. Within the past seven days, religious extremists killed at least 40 people at the Istanbul Airport, 20 people at a cafe in Bangladesh, and 42 people across four different locations in Yemen.
ISIL claimed responsibility for all of the attacks, and evidence so far backs up those claims. Although the Bangladesh attack targeted foreigners, ISIL’s target during the Ramadan attacks have been primarily Muslims.
Iraq has been a long-standing target for Muslim terrorist groups since the destabilizing US-led war in 2003. In 2014, the country suffered more deaths from terror attacks than any other country on earth (no more recent data has been published).
Baghdad in particular has suffered from ISIL terror this year as Iraqi military forces battle the group. Between May 11 and May 17, terrorists conducted no fewer than eight attacks in Baghdad, killing 189 people (paywall). ISIL claimed responsibility for five of those attacks.