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Baghdad Killings: Suicide Truck bombing Kills at Least 124, ISIS claims responsibility

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the blast in the Karrada district, saying Shi'ites were targeted and considers Shi'ites heretics

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People gather at the site of a suicide car bomb in the Karrada shopping area, in Baghdad, Iraq, July 3, 2016. Image source: Reuters
  • A suicide truck bombing occurred at a busy shopping area, killing at least 119 people and wounding 170 others
  • Pope Francis delivered a prayer for the victims in Iraq and for a separate bombing Friday in Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the site of the bombing hours after the attack

Iraqi Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi met with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones in Baghdad after two separate early morning bombings in Baghdad killed at least 124 people and wounded at least 186 others.  The officials discussed how the two countries can better collaborate in the fight against Islamic State (IS).

A suicide truck bombing Sunday, July 3, occurred shortly after midnight at a busy shopping area, killing at least 119 people and wounding 170 others.  It was the most deadly attack in the Iraqi capital this year.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the blast in the Karrada district, saying Shi’ites were targeted.  The jihadist group considers Shi’ites heretics.

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In the second attack, an explosive device detonated in Baghdad’s northern Shaab area, killing at least five people and wounding 16.  No one has claimed responsibility for this attack.

Image source :www.natsentinel.com
An ISIS supporter.Image source :www.natsentinel.com

The White House condemned the attacks Sunday and said in a statement the violence has reinforced the America’s commitment to defeating IS. “We remain united with the Iraqi people and government in our combined efforts to destroy ISIL,” the statement said, using another acronym for the group.

Pope Francis delivered a prayer for the victims in Iraq and for a separate bombing Friday in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  The pope told tens of thousands of worshipers in St. Peter’s square he feels “closeness to the families of the victims” and asked those gathered to “pray together” for them.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the site of the bombing hours after the attack.

A man looks for victims at the site of a car bomb attack at a commercial area in Karada neighbourhood in Baghdad, Iraq, July 3, 2016. Image source: AP
A man looks for victims at the site of a car bomb attack at a commercial area in Karada neighbourhood in Baghdad, Iraq, July 3, 2016. Image source: AP

The attack came little more than a week after Iraqi forces ousted Islamic State militants from the city of Fallujah, just 50 kilometres west of the capital.

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A second deadly blast occurred in eastern Baghdad, killing at least one person and wounding several others.  There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the second blast.

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This is the third major act of terrorism claimed by IS in a week, following the suicide attack Tuesday at Ataturk International Airport that killed more than 40 people, and the siege of a restaurant in Dhaka in which more than 20 people died.

Bangladeshi officials insist, however, the Dhaka attackers had no connection with Islamic State.  The Bangladesh government has long maintained IS has no presence in the country. (VOA)

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People Use Hate Speech While Searching About Terrorism on Social Media

People post hate speech while seeking answers on terrorism

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Social Media terrorism
People often resort to using hate speech when searching about terrorism on a community group social media platform. Pixabay

People often resort to using hate speech when searching about terrorism on a community group social media platform, say researchers.

According to Snehasish Banerjee, lecturer at the York Management School, University of York, it appears seems that people are really curious to know about terrorists, what terrorists think, their ideas, etc.

“While portrayed as a threat to society and human civilisation by mainstream media, terrorists sell terrorism as freedom fighting via social networking sites and private messaging platforms,” said Banerjee.

“However, the actual workings of terrorism are largely shrouded in secrecy. For the curious, a convenient avenue to turn to is the community question answering sites”.

Community question answering sites (CQAs) are social media platforms where users ask questions, answer those submitted by others, and have the option to evaluate responses. Previous studies have mainly looked at terrorism-related data drawn from Facebook and Twitter, this was the first to examine trends on the CQA site, Yahoo! Answers.

Social Media terrorism
While portrayed as a threat to society and human civilisation by mainstream media, terrorists sell terrorism as freedom fighting via social media platforms. Pixabay

The University of York study explored the use of Yahoo! Answers on the topic of terrorism and looked at a dataset of 300 questions that attracted more than 2,000 answers. The questions reflected the community’s information needs, ranging from the life of extremists to counter-terrorism policies. Sensitive questions outnumbered innocuous ones.

A typical innocuous question was: Who exactly created ISIS?, while a more sensitive question was: Do you agree with Donald Trump that we should ban Muslims coming from countries seized by ISIS, Al Qaeda and other terrorists? According to the findings, sensitive questions were significantly more likely to be submitted anonymously than innocuous ones.

While no significant difference arose with respect to answers, the paper found that identities were seldom recognisable. Using names non-traceable to themselves, the community group users become embolden to use provocative, inflammatory or uncivil language. “We found that answers were laden with negative emotions reflecting hate speech and Islamophobia, making claims that were rarely verifiable,” said Banerjee.

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Users who posted sensitive questions and answers generally tended to remain anonymous.

“This paper calls for governments and law enforcement agencies to collaborate with major social media companies, including CQAs, to develop a process for cross-platform blacklisting of users and content, as well as identifying those who are vulnerable,” the authors noted in the Aslib Journal of Information Management. (IANS)