Wednesday, July 6, 2016

On the jihadi car and suicide bombings in the bazaars of Karrada, Baghdad, on July 3

Update: July 7
Death toll mounts to 292

Latest reports give Dead Count as 250+   Injured as 220+

From the muted response from world media on the car bombs + suicide bombings at two locations in Baghdad,(the first location had the heavy toll) we can clearly surmise that the people of this planet have become immune to death and destruction in the war-torn countries of not only Iraq but also Syria and Afghanistan.  As for the deaths of Africans, whether by suicide bombings or missiles from the Western overlords, nobody in the West cares to lift even a single eyebrow.  Libya is seeing several severe incidents, almost on a daily basis.  So also Yemen, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, CAR, Mali and where else?  There must be other nations where the USA+gang have their boots firmly entrenched bringing chaos and death to the natives, but most of us are not aware of those killing fields ... at this date in time.

Sajad Jiyad at his blog
The flames that consumed hope

I’m frequently asked to write security assessments of Baghdad, to gauge what the risks are and what the associated political fallout could be. Only 10 days ago I was asked for my thoughts on Baghdad security: would a Daesh bombing campaign continue after Fallujah was liberated (yes because Daesh has always used them to project strength), how likely would an attack occur around Eid (very likely as Daesh targets crowded areas and especially increases attacks in Ramadhan), can they penetrate inner Baghdad areas such as Karrada (yes because these bombings are planned and have assistance to get them through checkpoints), and would there be a breakout of violence in response to such an attack (unlikely as there is a war being fought but...

On Saturday evening, I was with friends in the western end of the Karrada area, near the Babylon Hotel, watching the Germany-Italy football match. It was a very warm night and we were sat outside in a popular restaurant cheering for Italy to win but expecting Germany to. At around midnight the match was forced into extra time and then a penalty shootout. Around me every one was watching nervously as the game reached its conclusion. At 12.50am it was the Germans who came out victorious and we all felt sorry for the Italians who never seem to do well at penalty kicks. As we were still discussing the result we suddenly felt the shockwave of a bomb and the loud sound of an explosion accompanying it, meaning it was nearby. Living in Baghdad means you learn to differentiate between a car bomb, a truck bomb, a Grad or Katyusha rocket, a mortar, a grenade, an improvised landmine or IED, a missile, or just a plain sound bomb. This sounded like it was a car bomb, not big enough for any more than that, perhaps 2-3 kilometres away, likely to kill 10 people and not out of the ordinary for a city that has seen hundreds of such incidents over the past decade. We all reached for our phones to see the initial reports on social media and within 5 minutes we saw messages that it was in Karrada, next to Hadi Center mall. We all said it would be bad because we knew how crowded that area gets at night. Next we got images of a raging fire and then we saw fire trucks and ambulances speeding past us down the Karrada Dakhil road towards the explosion site. The mood changed and nobody was talking about the football anymore, and then phones started ringing, with wives, mothers, sisters, daughters calling their family members to ask that they go back home. Suddenly the restaurant started to thin out, and by 2am I was pretty much the last one there (unthinkable on a usual night). I drove down Karrada Dakhil, and could see the orange glow from the flames in the night sky and the screams of sirens and people running. Panic was the overwhelming feeling that gripped this area and with more emergency vehicles cramming into the road I decided to move away and turned onto Karrada Kharij and back home. On Facebook and Twitter the photos posted were showing the mall engulfed in flames. The death toll began to creep past 15 and this started to look like a worse attack than I expected. At 4am I went to sleep thinking the situation would settle by late morning and we would get a death toll in the mid 30s.

That’s what happens in Iraq, deaths become just statistics and the frequency of attacks means the shock doesn’t register as it would elsewhere or that you have enough time to feel sad or grieve. I was near the Karrada area on 2 May 2015 when a twin bombing killed Ammar al-Shahbander, a friend of so many Iraqis and foreigners alike and one of the most energetic and optimistic people you could meet in Baghdad. He was killed, along with 16 others, very close to Hadi mall and .........

....Ahmad was one of a new generation of well-educated Iraqis who hoped to turn the country around. He worked at the Agriculture Commission which coordinated with several ministries to improve Iraq’s agriculture sector. Ahmad was always writing about ways to enhance modern farming, to increase crop yields, to better manage water resources, to sustainably develop livestock, and every weekend would spend a day at some farm or factory in the provinces where work was taking place to do just that. He wrote a paper last year for us at Bayan Center on sustainable development of agriculture and was working on a paper on food security and crop yields. He was Abu Yusif to his friends and was an optimist who had an infectious energy, totally convinced that our country’s future would be better than its past.....

....The Hadi mall was designed, as the vast majority of buildings in Iraq, with no fire safety in mind. There were no emergency exits, the door to the roof was welded shut to prevent the entry of burglars and no sprinklers were in place to assist with putting out fires. There may have been some fire extinguishers but I doubt it. The only way in and out of the building was through the single front entrance. ....

From BBC dated July 5
Iraq sees worst bombing since invasion  with 250 deaths
The death toll from Sunday's suicide bombing in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has risen to 250, the Iraqi government says, making it the deadliest such attack since the 2003 US-led invasion.

A lorry packed with explosives was detonated in the Karrada district while families were shopping for the holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

From BBC dated July 4
Iraq suicide bomb attack: Deaths in Baghdad rise to 165
The number of people killed in Sunday's suicide bomb attack in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has risen to 165, interior ministry officials say.

The government has declared three days of mourning after the huge blast, which also injured 225 people.

....A lorry packed with explosives was detonated in the Karrada district while families were shopping for the holiday marking the end of Ramadan.
It is believed to be the deadliest single bomb attack in Iraq since 2007.

Rescuers said whole families had been killed. Many people were badly burned.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was greeted by angry crowds when he visited the mainly Shia Muslim area in the hours after the bombing.

His office said Mr Abadi understood the reaction of residents and would increase security by banning "magic wand" fake bomb detectors and improving vehicle inspections at roads into the city.

The fake bomb detectors, some based on cheap devices for finding golf balls, were sold in large numbers to Iraq by fraudsters.

One British businessman, who was jailed for 10 years, sold more than 6,000 devices to Iraq for up to $40,000 (£30,000) each.

The UK banned their export to Iraq in 2010 and several other fraudsters received prison sentences. Despite warnings that the devices were useless, the Iraqi security forces continued to use them.

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