The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the recent, horrific terrorist attack that took place in Baghdad. On January 21, two suicide bombers exploded their vests in the center of the capital. More than 30 people were killed and at least 100 were wounded in the busy marketplace in Tayaran Square. The attack was planned and executed to produce maximum casualties.
Such a deadly attack against civilians in Baghdad has become rare in recent years. The city has been gradually returning to normal life after the Islamic State’s control of large swaths of Iraq and Syria was ended by the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. The terror group lost its last stronghold in Raqqa in 2019, although remnants have continued to carry out attacks in both Syria and Iraq.
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The United States has been drawing down its forces in Iraq. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said during his recent confirmation hearing that he remains concerned about the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and elsewhere. “I support maintaining a small number of U.S. troops to carry out a limited mission focused on advising and assisting Iraqi counter-terrorism forces to deal with the continuing threat from ISIS,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
A spokesman for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Colonel Wayne Marotto said in a tweet that the twin suicide bombing in Baghdad “is yet another instance of terrorists killing fellow Iraqis and harms those who seek peace.”
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad called the attack “a reprehensible act of cowardice that underscores the dangers of terrorism that millions of Iraqis continue to face.”
In a statement, then Acting Secretary of State Daniel Smith condemned “in the strongest possible terms [the January 21] terrorist attacks in Baghdad.”
“They were vicious acts of mass murder and a sobering reminder of the terrorism that continues to threaten the lives of innocent Iraqis,” he wrote. “We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and hope for a speedy recovery of those wounded.” (VOA)