ISIS bombing in Baghdad casts doubt on Iraqi leader’s ability to unite

The New York Times reports: As grief-stricken Iraqis held a candlelight vigil Sunday night at the site of a car bombing that killed more than 150 people, workers often using the flashlights from their cellphones were still pulling bodies from the rubble.

As Sunday gave way to Monday morning, with bodies still buried, some began expressing their grief through politics, waving banners listing the dead and demanding that officials, including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, resign.

The attack in a shopping area in the Karada neighborhood was the deadliest in Baghdad in many years, and after the final death toll is known it could become the deadliest ever.

As bloody as it was, the bombing in Baghdad was but the worst of a wave of global terrorism in recent days attributed to militants aligned with the Islamic State. Seemingly unconnected to any political purpose and intended to kill indiscriminately, be it by gunfire, explosions or, in the case of a restaurant in Bangladesh, an arsenal including swords, the violence has cut across religions, national identities, ages and professions.

The violence touched people from all parts of the globe. More than 40 were killed at Istanbul’s main airport last week — Saudis, Iraqis and citizens of Iran, China, Tunisia and Ukraine, though most were Turkish. Among the dead were taxi drivers, an interpreter helping tourists, a customs officer and an airport worker who was looking forward to his wedding, which would have been at the end of this week.

In Bangladesh, young men, many of them from privileged backgrounds, used guns, bombs, knives and swords in an assault on foreigners at a popular restaurant on a Friday night. They killed 22 people, many in gruesome fashion. The dead included nine Italians, one of whom was pregnant; seven urban planners from Japan; a Bangladeshi woman who worked for art galleries; a 19-year-old Indian woman attending the University of California, Berkeley; two other college students; and two police officers.

In Iraq, the victims were all Iraqis. Desperate to respond to the public’s grief and anger, Mr. Abadi tried to assuage Iraqis’ desire for revenge by promising to speed the executions of Islamic State militants on death row. Later in the day, the Justice Ministry announced that five convicted terrorists had been executed, and images of their hangings were shown on state television. [Continue reading…]




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