Connect with us

Iraq

How ISIS Produced Its Cruel Arsenal on an Industrial Scale

- 00ISISBOMBS1 facebookJumbo - How ISIS Produced Its Cruel Arsenal on an Industrial Scale


WASHINGTON — Late this spring, Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic State in Mosul discovered three unfired rocket-propelled grenades with an unusual feature — a heavy liquid sloshing inside their warheads. Tests later found that the warheads contained a crude blister agent resembling sulfur mustard, a banned chemical weapon intended to burn a victim’s skin and respiratory tract.

The improvised chemical rockets were the latest in a procession of weapons developed by the Islamic State during a jihadist arms-manufacturing spree without recent analogue.

Irregular fighting forces, with limited access to global arms markets, routinely manufacture their own weapons. But the Islamic State took the practice to new levels, with outputs “unlike anything we’ve ever seen” from a nonstate force, said Solomon H. Black, a State Department official who tracks and analyzes weapons.

Humanitarian de-miners, former military explosive ordnance disposal technicians and arms analysts working in areas captured from the Islamic State provided The New York Times with dozens of reports and scores of photographs and drawings detailing weapons that the militant organization has developed since 2014, when it established a self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

The records show the work of a jihadist hive mind — a system of armaments production that combined research and development, mass production and organized distribution to amplify the militant organization’s endurance and power.

Photo
Space heaters that the Islamic State modified into improvised bombs. They could be set off in multiple ways and were most likely meant to target families returning home. Credit Craig McInally/Norwegian People’s Aid

The resulting weapons, used against the Islamic State’s armed foes on many fronts and against civilians who did not support its rule, were variously novel and familiar. At times they were exceptionally cruel.

Continue reading the main story

One report noted that before being expelled from Ramadi, Islamic State fighters buried a massive explosive charge under a group of homes and wired it to the electrical system in one of the buildings.

The houses were thought to be safe. But when a family returned and connected a generator, their home was blown apart in an enormous blast, according to Snoor Tofiq, national operations manager for Norwegian People’s Aid, which is clearing improvised weapons from areas that the Islamic State left. The entire family, he said, was killed.

Craig McInally, also an operations manager for the Norwegian de-mining organization, described indiscriminate inventions elsewhere — including four seemingly abandoned space heaters and a generator recovered near Mosul.

The heaters and generator, useful to displaced civilians and combatants alike, were packed with hidden explosives. The bombs had been configured, Mr. McInally said, so that if a person approached them or tried to move them, they would explode.

Continue reading the main story

WASHINGTON — Late this spring, Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic State in Mosul discovered three unfired rocket-propelled grenades with an unusual feature — a heavy liquid sloshing inside their warheads. Tests later found that the warheads contained a crude blister agent resembling sulfur mustard, a banned chemical weapon intended to burn a victim’s skin and respiratory tract.

The improvised chemical rockets were the latest in a procession of weapons developed by the Islamic State during a jihadist arms-manufacturing spree without recent analogue.

Irregular fighting forces, with limited access to global arms markets, routinely manufacture their own weapons. But the Islamic State took the practice to new levels, with outputs “unlike anything we’ve ever seen” from a nonstate force, said Solomon H. Black, a State Department official who tracks and analyzes weapons.

Humanitarian de-miners, former military explosive ordnance disposal technicians and arms analysts working in areas captured from the Islamic State provided The New York Times with dozens of reports and scores of photographs and drawings detailing weapons that the militant organization has developed since 2014, when it established a self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

The records show the work of a jihadist hive mind — a system of armaments production that combined research and development, mass production and organized distribution to amplify the militant organization’s endurance and power.

The resulting weapons, used against the Islamic State’s armed foes on many fronts and against civilians who did not support its rule, were variously novel and familiar. At times they were exceptionally cruel.

One report noted that before being expelled from Ramadi, Islamic State fighters buried a massive explosive charge under a group of homes and wired it to the electrical system in one of the buildings.

The houses were thought to be safe. But when a family returned and connected a generator, their home was blown apart in an enormous blast, according to Snoor Tofiq, national operations manager for Norwegian People’s Aid, which is clearing improvised weapons from areas that the Islamic State left. The entire family, he said, was killed.

Craig McInally, also an operations manager for the Norwegian de-mining organization, described indiscriminate inventions elsewhere — including four seemingly abandoned space heaters and a generator recovered near Mosul.

The heaters and generator, useful to displaced civilians and combatants alike, were packed with hidden explosives. The bombs had been configured, Mr. McInally said, so that if a person approached them or tried to move them, they would explode.

Taken together, the scope and scale of Islamic State production demonstrated the perils of a determined militant organization allowed to pursue its ambitions in a large, ungoverned space.

Some weapon components, for example, were essentially standardized, including locally manufactured injection-molded munition fuzes, shoulder-fired rockets, mortar ammunition, modular bomb parts and plastic-bodied land mines that underwent generations of upgrades. Many were produced in industrial quantities.

The findings also included apparent prototypes of weapons that either were not selected for mass production or were abandoned in development, including projectiles loaded with caustic soda and shoulder-fired rockets containing blister agent.

While the Islamic State has been routed from almost all its territory in Iraq and Syria, security officials say that its advances pose risks elsewhere, as its members move on to other countries, its foreign members return home and veterans of its arms-production network pool and share knowledge and techniques online.

“They’re spreading this knowledge all over the world,” said Ernest Barajas Jr., a former Marine explosive ordnance disposal technician who has worked with ordnance-clearing organizations in areas occupied by the Islamic State. “It’s going to the Philippines, it’s in Africa.” He added, “This stuff’s going to continue to grow.”

One reason for the Islamic State’s level of sophistication was clear: Its armaments programs grew out of the insurgencies fighting the American occupation of Iraq from 2003 through 2011.

Sunni and Shiite militant groups became adept at making improvised bombs, both from conventional munitions abandoned in 2003 by Iraq’s defeated military, and with ingredients that bomb-makers prepared themselves. American officials say certain Shiite groups received technical assistance and components from Iran.

Sunni bomb-makers also fielded chemical weapons, sometimes by combining explosive devices with chlorine, a toxic substance with legal applications, and other times in bombs made from degraded chemical rockets or shells left from Iraq’s defunct chemical warfare program.

The Islamic State, which evolved from Al Qaeda in Iraq, built upon its predecessors’ lethal industry.

The group’s larger success since also played a role. When the Islamic State seized swaths of territory and major cities in 2014, it took control of shops and factories with hydraulic presses, forges, computer-driven machine tools and plastic injection-molding machines. It also moved into at least one technical college and university lab. This infrastructure positioned the Islamic State for an arms-production breakout.

Behind the capacity was an armaments bureaucracy that supervised product development and manufacture, said Damien Spleeters, head of operations in Iraq and Syria for Conflict Armament Research, a private arms-monitoring and investigative firm that has done field work in both countries during the war.

The system was resilient, Mr. Spleeters said. One of the Islamic State’s projects, a series of recoilless launchers that gained prominence late in the battle for Mosul, in northern Iraq, was built from the ground up even while militants were pressured in combat from multiple foes on multiple fronts.

“It just kept going,” Mr. Spleeters said of the technical advancements. “They could develop stuff even as they lost territories.”

The Islamic State’s arms bureaucracy was also disciplined. Detonating cord used in improvised explosive devices was measured and allotted down to the centimeter, Mr. Spleeters said. When a stock ran out, management would fill out a request form for more. The material would be resupplied.

Mr. McInally said the group’s armament production appeared centralized and carefully considered.

As de-miners have found weapons, he said, they have routinely encountered improvised devices with a modular design that allowed for the Islamic State’s fighters to choose from uniform parts and assemble devices quickly. The separate parts were issued distinctly, to be combined before use.

“It’s a collection of pressure plates, a collection of charges, a collection of switches,” Mr. McInally said. “Components that can be connected as necessary. It’s clever. It’s impressive.”

The New York Times is withholding technical details of weapons and explosive mixtures described in this article to prevent the spread of information useful to copycats.

Mr. Barajas said the explosive charges themselves were further standardized — via a so-called homemade explosive with a recipe the group tweaked and produced at an industrial scale.

The mixture, he said, is a widely known combination of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and aluminum with a long history of use in many conflicts, including in Iraq. But the Islamic State improved the explosive with the addition of another material that makes it easier to detonate. The Times previously documented the Islamic State’s importation of large amounts of ammonium nitrate from Turkey, along with sections of heavy pipe.

Mr. McInally said the group also standardized other items: supplemental charges for mortar rounds to extend their range; a common fuze with a spring-loaded striker assembly machined from an over-the-counter bolt; and an improvised bomb — he said de-miners refer to it as a land mine — that was fielded in a standard-sized plastic tub.

The mines resemble an Italian-made antipersonnel mine called the VS-50, though the Islamic State’s version is much larger, prompting de-miners to dryly refer to it as the “VS-500.”

As time passed, newly produced VS-500 mines became increasingly water-resistant, extending their life in the ground. Similarly, the striker fuzes that the Islamic State has fielded show signs of being made resistant to moisture and rust.

The first-generation land mines, Mr. McInally said, were not well made. “They didn’t weather well,” he said. But by the time the Islamic State was defeated in Mosul, he said, it had improved the design and salted the battlefield and villages with weapons “that last a long, long time.”

The Islamic State has also engaged in organized scavenging, including collecting dud American-made bombs dropped by coalition warplanes and repurposing their explosive power. One set of photos provided by a de-miner show how the group set up an open-air chop shop to cut open unexploded American aircraft bombs and remove the explosive inside.

These explosives tend to be more powerful and more reliable than homemade explosives. Mr. Barajas said the Islamic State put what it had scavenged to priority use — in suicide attacks.

“Every time I’d run an explosive test on the ordnance buried in the ground, if I found it connected to the pressure switches, it would come back as ‘homemade explosives,’” he said. But the explosives in suicide vests and belts, he added, were compounds, including RDX and TNT, extracted from conventional ordnance.

Not all of the Islamic State’s developments have been effective. When experimental designs failed, Islamic State engineers made changes or moved on.

According to an American government official who examined an analysis of the rocket-propelled grenade filled with blister agent, the weapons would probably not fly a predictable and accurate path. X-rays, he said, showed that they had been only partly filled, and were unbalanced.

Similarly, the Islamic State seemed to struggle with a series of mortars filled with caustic soda, or lye, a strongly alkaline compound that is sold in a heavy flake form and sometimes used as a drain cleaner.

Dozens of locally produced mortar projectiles filled with caustic soda were found by de-miners in Manbij, Syria, in late 2016. Mr. Barajas analyzed the discovery.

“Caustic soda is extremely hazardous. It’ll burn your skin,” he said. “If you inhale it, it’ll cause death.” But the material is also corrosive, so much so that it damaged the interior of the shells the Islamic State had used to hold it.

He said that the Islamic State tried loading 120-millimeter mortar rounds with caustic soda, but that the munitions rusted to the point of exuding salts. They could not be safely fired. “I think once they got this bad reaction, they moved away from this,” Mr. Barajas said.

Many of the Islamic State’s bombs have been used against the military and police forces fighting it. Aso Mohammed, a Kurdish de-miner with the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action, said that by his estimates, improvised explosive devices have been responsible for 60 percent of casualties of Kurdish pesh merga soldiers in Iraq’s north.

But other uses were consistent with the Islamic State’s well-documented disregard for international law and humanitarian concerns evident in their abductions, public executions, production of snuff films and bombings of public spaces.

In a prepared statement, the American military in Baghdad noted that coalition forces have recovered and destroyed booby-trapped teddy bears. De-miners and their supervisors in Iraq frequently trade reports and details of other Islamic State-made booby traps, among them dolls, stuffed animals and plastic trucks, as well as teapots, fire extinguishers, flashlights and copies of the Quran.

Two de-miners, Steve Kosier and Mr. Mohammed, of the Swiss demining organization, said that the Islamic State’s locally made weapons had evolved in a predictably sinister fashion. Improvised devices that once were connected to a single plate that would cause the bomb to explode were later in the campaign connected to several plates — an adaptation intended to slow de-miners as they cleared buildings, roads and terrain.

Mr. Kosier said he had disabled one makeshift bomb that “had four pressure plates surrounding the container with a 9-volt battery for each plate.” Each plate was connected by a separate electrical circuit to a container of homemade high explosives, which in turn had an “anti-lift device” beneath it — essentially a booby trap added to an already complex booby trap.

The ambition behind such a trap, de-miners said, is to kill people trying to make the Islamic State’s former turf safe.

Nytimes

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Iraq

Philippines Arrests Explosives Expert Tied to Mideast Militants

- 23philippines 1 facebookJumbo - Philippines Arrests Explosives Expert Tied to Mideast Militants


Photo
Director General Ronald dela Rosa of the Philippine National Police. He said Monday that an Iraqi chemist had been arrested after being seen acting “suspiciously” in the northern city of Angeles. Credit Noel Celis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

MANILA — Philippine intelligence operatives have arrested an Iraqi explosives expert who has eluded the local authorities since last year and were checking whether he had been in contact with Filipino militant groups, the police said Monday.

The man, Taha Mohamed al-Jabouri, 64, arrived in the Philippines in August as the country was getting ready to host a gathering of Southeast Asian foreign ministers in preparation for a November summit meeting that included President Trump.

Mr. Jabouri was a “chemist with knowledge of explosives” and is known to have ties to militant extremist movements in the Middle East, said Ronald dela Rosa, director general of the Philippine National Police, citing Iraqi intelligence information.

“The Iraqi Embassy in Manila alerted the Philippine intelligence community of his presence,” he said.

Mr. Jabouri was arrested Saturday after the authorities in the northern city of Angeles advised the police that he was there, the director general said, adding that Mr. Jabouri had been observed acting “suspiciously.”

Continue reading the main story

Police intelligence operatives were then dispatched to Angeles and found Mr. Jabouri, who gave up peacefully. He was carrying luggage that contained personal items and different denominations of foreign currency, the police said.

Mr. Jabouri admitted while being interrogated that he had served as a consultant for Hamas in Syria before moving to Turkey in 2012.

“He also said that he traveled to Manila to meet a Chinese business group that hired him as a consultant,” Director General dela Rosa said, without identifying the group.

A police intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said investigators were also checking whether Mr. Jabouri had made any connections to local militant groups, noting that his visit came as the country was fighting Islamic State-linked Filipino militants, backed by foreign fighters, who had taken over the southern city of Marawi.

The fighting, which left at least 1,200 people dead — most of them militants — was declared over in October, although security forces have said nearly 200 Filipino militants who took part in the siege escaped and remained at large.

The arrest came after a year in which the Philippines has grappled with deadly bombings.

In May 2017, the police in Manila placed the crowded Quiapo district under lockdown after two bombs exploded within hours of each other near a Muslim center. Two people were killed, and six others, including two police officers investigating the first blast, were hurt.

A month before those blasts, a pipe bomb also exploded in Quiapo, injuring a dozen people.

The Philippine police had sought to play down the attacks, saying they did not appear to be connected.

But six months earlier, in November 2016, the authorities prevented a bombing when they recovered a powerful explosive device near the American Embassy in Manila. Director General dela Rosa tied that bombing to a Muslim militant faction that would later help lead the Marawi insurgency.

Continue reading the main story

MANILA — Philippine intelligence operatives have arrested an Iraqi explosives expert who has eluded the local authorities since last year and were checking whether he had been in contact with Filipino militant groups, the police said Monday.

The man, Taha Mohamed al-Jabouri, 64, arrived in the Philippines in August as the country was getting ready to host a gathering of Southeast Asian foreign ministers in preparation for a November summit meeting that included President Trump.

Mr. Jabouri was a “chemist with knowledge of explosives” and is known to have ties to militant extremist movements in the Middle East, said Ronald dela Rosa, director general of the Philippine National Police, citing Iraqi intelligence information.

“The Iraqi Embassy in Manila alerted the Philippine intelligence community of his presence,” he said.

Mr. Jabouri was arrested Saturday after the authorities in the northern city of Angeles advised the police that he was there, the director general said, adding that Mr. Jabouri had been observed acting “suspiciously.”

Police intelligence operatives were then dispatched to Angeles and found Mr. Jabouri, who gave up peacefully. He was carrying luggage that contained personal items and different denominations of foreign currency, the police said.

Mr. Jabouri admitted while being interrogated that he had served as a consultant for Hamas in Syria before moving to Turkey in 2012.

“He also said that he traveled to Manila to meet a Chinese business group that hired him as a consultant,” Director General dela Rosa said, without identifying the group.

A police intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said investigators were also checking whether Mr. Jabouri had made any connections to local militant groups, noting that his visit came as the country was fighting Islamic State-linked Filipino militants, backed by foreign fighters, who had taken over the southern city of Marawi.

The fighting, which left at least 1,200 people dead — most of them militants — was declared over in October, although security forces have said nearly 200 Filipino militants who took part in the siege escaped and remained at large.

The arrest came after a year in which the Philippines has grappled with deadly bombings.

In May 2017, the police in Manila placed the crowded Quiapo district under lockdown after two bombs exploded within hours of each other near a Muslim center. Two people were killed, and six others, including two police officers investigating the first blast, were hurt.

A month before those blasts, a pipe bomb also exploded in Quiapo, injuring a dozen people.

The Philippine police had sought to play down the attacks, saying they did not appear to be connected.

But six months earlier, in November 2016, the authorities prevented a bombing when they recovered a powerful explosive device near the American Embassy in Manila. Director General dela Rosa tied that bombing to a Muslim militant faction that would later help lead the Marawi insurgency.

Nytimes

Continue Reading

Iraq

Military Shifts Focus to Threats by Russia and China, Not Terrorism

- 20dc military facebookJumbo - Military Shifts Focus to Threats by Russia and China, Not Terrorism


Photo
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis spoke Friday at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. Credit Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The United States is switching its priority to countering Chinese and Russian military might after almost two decades of focusing on the fight against terrorism, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday, unveiling a national defense strategy that Pentagon officials say will provide a blueprint for years to come.

The new strategy echoes — on paper, if not in tone — a national security blueprint offered last month in which President Trump described rising threats to the United States from an emboldened Russia and China, as well as from what was described as rogue governments like North Korea and Iran.

But where Mr. Trump struck a campaign tone during the unveiling of his national security strategy, with references to building a wall along the southern border with Mexico, Mr. Mattis took a more sober route by sticking to the more traditional intellectual framework that has accompanied foreign policy doctrines of past administrations.

Drawing inspiration from Winston Churchill, who once said that the only thing harder than fighting with allies is fighting without them, Mr. Mattis said that the United States must strengthen its alliances with other powers.

“History proves that nations with allies thrive,” Mr. Mattis said in remarks at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. “Working by, with and through allies who carry their equitable share allows us to amass the greatest possible strength.” (One of those allies, Britain’s defense secretary, quickly released a statement welcoming Mr. Mattis’s words.)

Continue reading the main story

Unlike Mr. Trump, who said Russia and China “seek to challenge American influence, values and wealth” without mentioning Russian interference in the 2016 election, Mr. Mattis appeared to take direct aim at Russia. “To those who would threaten America’s experiment in democracy: If you challenge us, it will be your longest and worst day,” he said.

In seeking to shift the military emphasis to Russia and China after years fighting terrorism, the Trump administration is echoing many of the same pronouncements made by the Obama administration, which famously sought to pivot to Asia after years of fighting in Iraq. But the rise of the Islamic State, which declared a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, put a stop to the Asia pivot talk in Mr. Obama’s final years in office.

Now a new administration is again seeking to leave the terrorism fight behind. Mr. Mattis described increased “global volatility and uncertainty, with great power competition between nations a reality once again.” He declared the defeat of the Islamic State’s physical caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

“We will continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists, but great power competition — not terrorism — is now the primary focus of U.S. national security,” Mr. Mattis said.

But the United States is still at war in Afghanistan, where Mr. Trump has promised to set no artificial deadlines for withdrawing troops against a resilient Taliban. And American pilots and Special Operations forces continue to go after militants fighting with the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and the Shabab from Syria to Yemen to Somalia.

But as tensions in the Korean Peninsula have continued to rise over the past year, American military commanders and senior defense officials have fretted over whether 16 years of counterinsurgency fighting has left the military unprepared for a great powers land war.

Pentagon officials say that the need to do both — fight insurgents and prepare for a potential war among great powers — is pushing a military that is already stretched. Added to that is the uncertainty that has plagued the Pentagon’s budget since 2011, when mandatory spending caps were put in place.

Congress has been unable to pass a spending bill, and on Friday the federal government was, once again, teetering on the edge of a shutdown. Mr. Mattis, during his speech on Friday, took aim at the budget shenanigans.

“As hard as the last 16 years of war have been, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of the U.S. military than the combined impact of the budget control act’s defense spending caps, and nine of the last 10 years operating under continuing resolutions, wasting copious amounts of precious taxpayer dollars,” he said.

Continue reading the main story

WASHINGTON — The United States is switching its priority to countering Chinese and Russian military might after almost two decades of focusing on the fight against terrorism, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday, unveiling a national defense strategy that Pentagon officials say will provide a blueprint for years to come.

The new strategy echoes — on paper, if not in tone — a national security blueprint offered last month in which President Trump described rising threats to the United States from an emboldened Russia and China, as well as from what was described as rogue governments like North Korea and Iran.

But where Mr. Trump struck a campaign tone during the unveiling of his national security strategy, with references to building a wall along the southern border with Mexico, Mr. Mattis took a more sober route by sticking to the more traditional intellectual framework that has accompanied foreign policy doctrines of past administrations.

Drawing inspiration from Winston Churchill, who once said that the only thing harder than fighting with allies is fighting without them, Mr. Mattis said that the United States must strengthen its alliances with other powers.

“History proves that nations with allies thrive,” Mr. Mattis said in remarks at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. “Working by, with and through allies who carry their equitable share allows us to amass the greatest possible strength.” (One of those allies, Britain’s defense secretary, quickly released a statement welcoming Mr. Mattis’s words.)

Unlike Mr. Trump, who said Russia and China “seek to challenge American influence, values and wealth” without mentioning Russian interference in the 2016 election, Mr. Mattis appeared to take direct aim at Russia. “To those who would threaten America’s experiment in democracy: If you challenge us, it will be your longest and worst day,” he said.

In seeking to shift the military emphasis to Russia and China after years fighting terrorism, the Trump administration is echoing many of the same pronouncements made by the Obama administration, which famously sought to pivot to Asia after years of fighting in Iraq. But the rise of the Islamic State, which declared a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, put a stop to the Asia pivot talk in Mr. Obama’s final years in office.

Now a new administration is again seeking to leave the terrorism fight behind. Mr. Mattis described increased “global volatility and uncertainty, with great power competition between nations a reality once again.” He declared the defeat of the Islamic State’s physical caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

“We will continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists, but great power competition — not terrorism — is now the primary focus of U.S. national security,” Mr. Mattis said.

But the United States is still at war in Afghanistan, where Mr. Trump has promised to set no artificial deadlines for withdrawing troops against a resilient Taliban. And American pilots and Special Operations forces continue to go after militants fighting with the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and the Shabab from Syria to Yemen to Somalia.

But as tensions in the Korean Peninsula have continued to rise over the past year, American military commanders and senior defense officials have fretted over whether 16 years of counterinsurgency fighting has left the military unprepared for a great powers land war.

Pentagon officials say that the need to do both — fight insurgents and prepare for a potential war among great powers — is pushing a military that is already stretched. Added to that is the uncertainty that has plagued the Pentagon’s budget since 2011, when mandatory spending caps were put in place.

Congress has been unable to pass a spending bill, and on Friday the federal government was, once again, teetering on the edge of a shutdown. Mr. Mattis, during his speech on Friday, took aim at the budget shenanigans.

“As hard as the last 16 years of war have been, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of the U.S. military than the combined impact of the budget control act’s defense spending caps, and nine of the last 10 years operating under continuing resolutions, wasting copious amounts of precious taxpayer dollars,” he said.

Nytimes

Continue Reading

Iraq

Suicide Bombs in Baghdad Kill Dozens, Puncturing Newfound Sense of Hope

- 16Iraq facebookJumbo - Suicide Bombs in Baghdad Kill Dozens, Puncturing Newfound Sense of Hope


Photo
The site of a bomb blast in Baghdad on Monday. The attackers struck during rush hour in the city’s Tayran Square, which is usually crowded with laborers seeking work. Credit Khalid Al-Mousily/Reuters

BAGHDAD — Two suicide bombers killed more than two dozen people in Baghdad on Monday, mostly street vendors and day laborers gathered at dawn in hopes of finding work at an open-air market, in the first major attack in the Iraqi capital since the government declared victory over the Islamic State.

The carnage in Tayaran Square punctured a growing sense of hope and pride that had permeated Baghdad after Iraq’s security forces, bolstered by large numbers of volunteers and fresh recruits, successfully fought grueling battles against the insurgent group that had held one-third of Iraqi territory and terrorized millions of citizens.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombings, but officials in charge of security in the capital immediately cast suspicion on Islamic State sleeper cells, the target of Iraq’s intelligence and counterterrorism forces since major military operations ended in the fall.

Even as battles against Islamic State militants raged in northern Iraq and in its second-largest city, Mosul, Baghdad had largely been free of violence. The suicide bombings Monday morning caught many residents of the capital off guard, as they had become used to living relatively free of fear, taking their families to parks and shopping malls.

The attacks came a day after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and other politicians announced competing coalitions ahead of national elections scheduled for May. Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, campaign seasons in Iraq have been scarred by terrorist attacks and other violence.

Continue reading the main story

It is still unclear how the two assailants wearing suicide vests had entered Baghdad or why they had chosen to attack a market popular for cheap electronics and secondhand clothes.

The first assailant detonated his explosives around 6 a.m., as the sun was rising and as day laborers, shopkeepers and street vendors started gathering for work, according to Maj. Muhammad Mudhir, a traffic police officer who witnessed the attack. Minutes later, as people rushed to help the wounded, the second assailant detonated his explosives, said Kadhim Ali, a construction worker who was at the square.

Video

Iraq’s Hardball Tactics to Root Out ISIS

Some of the methods Iraqi authorities are using to weed out ISIS supporters among Sunni civilians in newly liberated Mosul have heightened concerns over human rights abuses.

By CAMILLA SCHICK and TIM ARANGO on Publish Date July 21, 2017. Photo by Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »

  • embed

Dr. Abdul Ghani, the director of Al Rusafa hospital in Baghdad, said at least 27 people had been killed, and 60 others wounded, many of whom were in a serious condition.

Since counterterrorism operations were ramped up in 2015, Iraqi security forces have established a tight security cordon around Baghdad in an attempt to keep insurgents and violence from infiltrating the city.

The belt of suburbs and farms to the west of the capital have long been home to bomb factories for Al Qaeda offshoots that have plagued Iraq since the mid-2000s.

Muhammad al-Jiwebrawi, the head of the Baghdad Province’s security committee, said those areas around the capital remained insecure. He urged the government to increase intelligence operations around the city to flush out insurgents.

“Islamic State terrorists are still present,” Mr. Jiwebrawi said. “There are reasons for what they are doing.”

Although the areas around the capital have been relatively safe compared with previous years, violence has not disappeared.

On Jan. 13, an insurgent detonated an explosive vest near a convoy carrying the head of Baghdad’s provincial government, wounding four Iraqi security forces.

A suicide bombing on a checkpoint in the north of the city on Saturday killed at least five people, according to the Iraqi police.

Continue reading the main story

BAGHDAD — Two suicide bombers killed more than two dozen people in Baghdad on Monday, mostly street vendors and day laborers gathered at dawn in hopes of finding work at an open-air market, in the first major attack in the Iraqi capital since the government declared victory over the Islamic State.

The carnage in Tayaran Square punctured a growing sense of hope and pride that had permeated Baghdad after Iraq’s security forces, bolstered by large numbers of volunteers and fresh recruits, successfully fought grueling battles against the insurgent group that had held one-third of Iraqi territory and terrorized millions of citizens.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombings, but officials in charge of security in the capital immediately cast suspicion on Islamic State sleeper cells, the target of Iraq’s intelligence and counterterrorism forces since major military operations ended in the fall.

Even as battles against Islamic State militants raged in northern Iraq and in its second-largest city, Mosul, Baghdad had largely been free of violence. The suicide bombings Monday morning caught many residents of the capital off guard, as they had become used to living relatively free of fear, taking their families to parks and shopping malls.

The attacks came a day after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and other politicians announced competing coalitions ahead of national elections scheduled for May. Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, campaign seasons in Iraq have been scarred by terrorist attacks and other violence.

It is still unclear how the two assailants wearing suicide vests had entered Baghdad or why they had chosen to attack a market popular for cheap electronics and secondhand clothes.

The first assailant detonated his explosives around 6 a.m., as the sun was rising and as day laborers, shopkeepers and street vendors started gathering for work, according to Maj. Muhammad Mudhir, a traffic police officer who witnessed the attack. Minutes later, as people rushed to help the wounded, the second assailant detonated his explosives, said Kadhim Ali, a construction worker who was at the square.

Dr. Abdul Ghani, the director of Al Rusafa hospital in Baghdad, said at least 27 people had been killed, and 60 others wounded, many of whom were in a serious condition.

Since counterterrorism operations were ramped up in 2015, Iraqi security forces have established a tight security cordon around Baghdad in an attempt to keep insurgents and violence from infiltrating the city.

The belt of suburbs and farms to the west of the capital have long been home to bomb factories for Al Qaeda offshoots that have plagued Iraq since the mid-2000s.

Muhammad al-Jiwebrawi, the head of the Baghdad Province’s security committee, said those areas around the capital remained insecure. He urged the government to increase intelligence operations around the city to flush out insurgents.

“Islamic State terrorists are still present,” Mr. Jiwebrawi said. “There are reasons for what they are doing.”

Although the areas around the capital have been relatively safe compared with previous years, violence has not disappeared.

On Jan. 13, an insurgent detonated an explosive vest near a convoy carrying the head of Baghdad’s provincial government, wounding four Iraqi security forces.

A suicide bombing on a checkpoint in the north of the city on Saturday killed at least five people, according to the Iraqi police.

Nytimes

Continue Reading

Recent News

- 1516636037 pence netanyahu 0 400x240 - Mike Pence angers Palestinians by saying it is ‘an honour to be in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem’ - 1516636037 pence netanyahu 0 80x80 - Mike Pence angers Palestinians by saying it is ‘an honour to be in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem’
Middle East20 mins ago

Mike Pence angers Palestinians by saying it is ‘an honour to be in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem’

US Vice President Mike Pence (left) meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem,...

- 20180122 20180122 dui0ib1x0aukqolaffe32 image45397e image 400x240 - Civilians and fighters killed by Turkey in Afrin laid to rest  - 20180122 20180122 dui0ib1x0aukqolaffe32 image45397e image 80x80 - Civilians and fighters killed by Turkey in Afrin laid to rest 
Rojava58 mins ago

Civilians and fighters killed by Turkey in Afrin laid to rest 

14 civilians and two YPG fighters lost their lives on the first and second day of the Turkish army’s invasion...

- 1516632018 abbas mogherini eu 400x240 - Jerusalem: EU assures Palestinian leader of its commitment to oppose Trump on capital city - 1516632018 abbas mogherini eu 80x80 - Jerusalem: EU assures Palestinian leader of its commitment to oppose Trump on capital city
Middle East1 hour ago

Jerusalem: EU assures Palestinian leader of its commitment to oppose Trump on capital city

The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini (R) shake hands at the...

- 20180122 20180120 efrin0810a3 image 1a8aed7 image 400x240 - Three-day balance sheet in Turkey’s Afrin operation  - 20180122 20180120 efrin0810a3 image 1a8aed7 image 80x80 - Three-day balance sheet in Turkey’s Afrin operation 
Rojava1 hour ago

Three-day balance sheet in Turkey’s Afrin operation 

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has released the three-day balance sheet of the Turkish state’s invasion operation against Afrin Canton of...

- EIA 400x240 - Coalition envoy calls on Baghdad to lift ban on Kurdistan Region airports - EIA 80x80 - Coalition envoy calls on Baghdad to lift ban on Kurdistan Region airports
kurdistan2 hours ago

Coalition envoy calls on Baghdad to lift ban on Kurdistan Region airports

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The US Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to defeat the Islamic State...

- 1516628350 turkey syria 400x240 - Syria: Turkey warned US before strikes against US-backed Kurdish militia - 1516628350 turkey syria 80x80 - Syria: Turkey warned US before strikes against US-backed Kurdish militia
Middle East2 hours ago

Syria: Turkey warned US before strikes against US-backed Kurdish militia

Turkish soldiers wait near the Syrian border at Hassa, in Hatay province on January 21, 2018 AFP PHOTO / BULENT...

kurdistan3 hours ago

Turkish shelling of Kurdish-controlled Afrin in Syria continues

Turkey Turkish shelling of Kurdish-controlled Afrin in Syria continues Intense fighting has resumed on third day of operation to create...

- Iraqiparliament3434 400x240 - Iraqi Parliament approves election date, confirms May 12 announcement - Iraqiparliament3434 80x80 - Iraqi Parliament approves election date, confirms May 12 announcement
kurdistan3 hours ago

Iraqi Parliament approves election date, confirms May 12 announcement

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi Parliament on Monday approved the previously announced date for the upcoming parliamentary...

- fe4ba64188da17f85ca8ab9234d7a199 L 400x240 - Christians Urge International to Help Afrin - fe4ba64188da17f85ca8ab9234d7a199 L 80x80 - Christians Urge International to Help Afrin
kurdistan3 hours ago

Christians Urge International to Help Afrin

The Christian residents of Afrin, the Kurdish city in Syria released an official statement concerning the Turksih bombarmnets on the...

- 20180122 s36fd89 image 400x240 - Clash between Turkish army and YPG in Serêkaniyê  - 20180122 s36fd89 image 80x80 - Clash between Turkish army and YPG in Serêkaniyê 
Rojava3 hours ago

Clash between Turkish army and YPG in Serêkaniyê 

The Turkish army has expanded its attacks on Afrin to Derik and Serêkaniyê. Clashes are taking place between Turkish soldiers...

Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2017 KurdDaily.com