This past weekend marked the end of Ramadan, which is typically a time of celebration for Iraqi Muslims. This year, the holiday became a time of mourning, anger, and sadness when ISIS detonated a minibus in downtown Baghdad.
An estimated 292 people were killed last weekend when a suicide bomber blew up a bus full of plastic explosives and ammonium nitrate. The flames quickly spread to nearby buildings, where hundreds of people were trapped and burned alive. Just a few days later, 40 more were killed when militants and suicide bombers stormed a Shiite shrine north of the city. Countless more were injured.
Friends and family members have since flocked to the explosion site, seeking answers, lighting candles, and hanging banners to honor the dead. The process of identifying the dead is expected to take between 15 and 45 days. According to Health Minister Adila Hamoud, 115 bodies have been found and handed over to their families. Another 177 are still missing.
Many blame the incident on the Iraqi government and are demanding action. “Citizens must remove this government by any means,” said Ali al-Yasiri as he stood near the site of the explosion.
The attack has convinced Interior Minister Mohammed Ghaban to resign from office, and authorities have arrested 40 suspected jihadists and executed five convicts in an attempt to pacify angry Iraqis.
The Islamic State has officially claimed responsibility for the attacks, but such ongoing violence must in part be blamed on Obama’s mismanagement in the oil-rich nation of Iraq.
Both attacks are believed to have targeted the crowds of pilgrims gathered in the city to celebrate “Eid al-Fitr,” the end of Ramadan. The minibus explosion marks the deadliest single attack in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003, which started a domino effect that would lead to more than 10 years of violence for the country.
Editor’s note: Iraq continues to descend more and more into chaos as a result of Obama’s mishandling of the Middle East. This story just puts into perspective the magnitude of the violence there.