Representatives of the Islamic State jihadist group confirmed that they were responsible for twin suicide bombings in Baghdad, Iraq. The incident killed 32 and injured over 100.
The attack was the largest of its kind in the capital in recent years. It was also the biggest attack by the Islamic State since the defeat of its “caliphate” in 2017. The attack was especially concerning for the Iraq government because ISIS was usually most active in the northern part of the country. They took control of the then-second-largest city in the nation, Mosul, about 250 miles away from Baghdad.
According to the Kurdish outlet Rudaw, members of the Islamic State used an encrypting application called Telegram to confirm that their members were responsible for the suicice bombings.
“Two suicide bombers belonging to the terror group detonated explosive belts in the crowded square, the group confirmed via its propaganda telegram channels late on Thursday,” according to the Rudaw report. “It said the second bomber struck as people gathered after the first explosion.”
According to reports, the bombers waited for the city’s market square to be crowded. They then lured in locals by pretending to be sick. The crowd was larger than usual due to a recent lift in restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rudaw also reported that ISIS had killed 28 people in a similar attack in the same location in Baghdad in 2018. However, these types of suicide bombings had become unusual in the capital in recent years.
After the attack, Iraqi Prime Minister Mostafa al Kadhimi dismissed at least 4 top officials, the head of the Iraqi federal police, two top Interior Ministry officials, and the director of Intelligence and Security of Baghdad Operations Office.
Iraqi President Barham Salih said in a statement posted on Twitter, “The two terrorist explosions against the safe citizens of Baghdad, at this time, confirms [sic] the endeavor of shadowy groups to target national achievements and the aspirations of our people for a peaceful future. We stand firmly against these rogue attempts to destabilize our country.”
A spokesman for the Iraqi government also said in a statement posted on Twitter that Baghdad plans to launch a campaign called “Revenge of the Martyrs” to eliminate the last of ISIS in the country.
ISIS controlled large regions of Iraq and Syria from 2014 until 2017 when it endured critical defeats that resulted in the terrorist group losing control of two of the most important cities, Raqqa, Syria and Mosul, Iraq.
In 2019, a U.S. military operation that was ordered by President Donald Trump resulted in the death of the “caliph” of the terrorist organization, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“He died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way,” Trump said at the time.