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A Look at the Most Dangerous Places for Children in 2017

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In wars around the globe, thousands of children were front-line targets, used as human shields and recruited to fight this year on “a shocking scale,” Unicef said on Thursday. The United Nations agency warned against normalizing the brutality, a sentiment it has echoed in reports year after year.

Our correspondents have followed the plight of children caught up in war, as well as those suffering from the fall out of these conflicts. Here is a selection of their stories, from the countries outlined in Unicef’s report.

Indiscriminate Violence in Afghanistan

At least 700 children were killed in the first nine months of the year in Afghanistan, Unicef said. As violence in civilian populated areas of the country intensified, children were often caught in the crossfire.

After an explosion at a playground killed five children, our correspondents reported on how “indiscriminate improvised explosive devices” are the biggest cause of casualties among children in Afghanistan.

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By YOUSUR AL-HLOU on Publish Date October 6, 2017. Photo by Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »

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Renewed Fighting in the Central African Republic

Fighting flared anew in the Central African Republic, forcing more than 150,000 people from their homes, the highest level since conflict in the country peaked three years ago. Children have been killed, raped, abducted or recruited by armed groups, Unicef said.

Separately, Ugandan troops, on a mission to catch Joseph Kony, the leader of the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army, are facing accusations of rape, sexual slavery and exploitation of young girls.

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Two Paths for Yemen’s Children

Saudi Arabia and its allies have bombed Yemen for more than two years, hoping to oust Iranian-aligned rebels who seized power. The conflict has left the country in ruins and impoverished, and has starved its population. Many desperate families see two ways out for their children: selling them off as brides or allowing their recruitment as soldiers.

Unicef said the fighting left more than 5,000 children dead or injured, and 11 million in need for humanitarian assistance.

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Explosives in Ukraine

Rebel-held eastern Ukraine is home to 220,000 children who live under the threat of mines and other explosives from nearly four years of conflict between separatists and the government in Kiev.

The fighting there escalated sharply in mid-December. A Ukrainian village and a town were hit with rocket-artillery barrages, wounding eight people and damaging about 50 homes.

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Schools Offer Little Sanctuary in Congo

Conflict in the Kasai region of central Congo began in mid-2016, after the government refused to recognize the appointment of a new traditional chief. Unicef estimates that the fighting that has erupted since that time has forced 850,000 children to flee their homes.

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In wars around the globe, thousands of children were front-line targets, used as human shields and recruited to fight this year on “a shocking scale,” Unicef said on Thursday. The United Nations agency warned against normalizing the brutality, a sentiment it has echoed in reports year after year.

Our correspondents have followed the plight of children caught up in war, as well as those suffering from the fall out of these conflicts. Here is a selection of their stories, from the countries outlined in Unicef’s report.

At least 700 children were killed in the first nine months of the year in Afghanistan, Unicef said. As violence in civilian populated areas of the country intensified, children were often caught in the crossfire.

After an explosion at a playground killed five children, our correspondents reported on how “indiscriminate improvised explosive devices” are the biggest cause of casualties among children in Afghanistan.

Fighting flared anew in the Central African Republic, forcing more than 150,000 people from their homes, the highest level since conflict in the country peaked three years ago. Children have been killed, raped, abducted or recruited by armed groups, Unicef said.

Separately, Ugandan troops, on a mission to catch Joseph Kony, the leader of the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army, are facing accusations of rape, sexual slavery and exploitation of young girls.

Conflict in the Kasai region of central Congo began in mid-2016, after the government refused to recognize the appointment of a new traditional chief. Unicef estimates that the fighting that has erupted since that time has forced 850,000 children to flee their homes.

Several hundred children were also killed in combat or held hostage by armed groups as human shields, a United Nations agency reported this year. More than 600 schools have been attacked, and hundreds of thousands of children are at risk of starvation because farmers have missed two planting seasons in a row, according to aid groups.

The fighting also has a political backdrop: Among President Joseph Kabila’s strongest foes is Moïse Katumbi, a businessman from Kasai who has made no secret of his presidential ambitions. Mr. Kabila’s second term as president of Congo expired at the end of 2016, but his government has twice punted the presidential poll, now scheduled for 2018.

The story of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram in 2014 ricocheted around the world. Some were freed in a prisoner swap, but the group’s atrocities against children did not end with the release, and the victims embarked on a slow process of healing.

In northeast Nigeria and Cameroon, Boko Haram forced at least 135 children to act as suicide bombers this year, Unicef said. The New York Times tracked down and interviewed Maryam, 16, above, and 17 other girls who survived those missions.

Our correspondents analyzed reports, which surfaced in March, that claimed scores of civilians — many of them children — had been killed by United States airstrikes in Mosul. An American-led coalition had been fighting in an attempt to take back Iraq’s second-largest city from Islamic State fighters.

After the Iraqi government declared victory over the Islamic State in Mosul in July, a photographer for The New York Times documented the devastation caused by the brutal combat. He came across abandoned and traumatized children suspected of being used as human shields by ISIS fighters. Many of them had lost their families in the violence and were taken to camps for the displaced.

As the Syrian civil war entered its sixth year in March, Unicef announced that 2016 had been the worst year for Syrian children, reporting at least 652 died as a result of intense bombardment and violence.

Children growing up in areas controlled by Islamic State militants have been exposed to astonishing levels of brutality. Our correspondents visited Syrian families in Beirut who described the violence their children witnessed while trying to flee from the extremist group and how they risked being recruited by their fighters.

On the first day of school in Syria in September, The New York Times looked at what it was like for children in rebel-controlled areas to return to classrooms amid destruction, with war still raging around them.

Almost 60 percent of the more than half a million Rohingya people violently driven out of their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine State are children, Unicef said. Many of them were separated from their families or fled on their own after being attacked or having witnessed brutal violence.

A Times correspondent visited a refugee camp in Bangladesh near the border with Myanmar, where Rohingya refugees recounted the atrocities committed by Myanmar government soldiers.

One woman described how they had snatched her baby from her arms and threw him into a fire before raping her. Other survivors recalled seeing government soldiers stabbing babies, gang-raping girls and beheading young boys.

South Sudan, one of the world’s youngest countries, is mired in conflict. What began as a feud between the country’s two top politicians erupted four years ago into an outright war, often fought along ethnic lines. It is ripping the country apart.

Our correspondent visited South Sudan in February, where he witnessed a former child soldier, now a teenager, reuniting with his family. Unicef said more than 19,000 children had been recruited to fight and over 2,300 children had been killed or injured since the conflict began.

The conflict has displaced four million South Sudanese — roughly one-third of the country’s population. More than half of them are children.

Nearly 200 children were brought into armed groups every month this year in Somalia, according to Unicef. That figure fits a trend that began in 2015, documented earlier by the United Nations Secretary General’s Office, of an increase in the use of children by armed groups.

Some are recruited with promises of school fees or jobs; others are kidnapped and pressed into service. The vast majority of child soldiers are forced into the ranks of Al Shabab, which is allied with Al Qaeda, although 15 percent of known child soldiers are serving in the Somali National Army, according to the report.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have bombed Yemen for more than two years, hoping to oust Iranian-aligned rebels who seized power. The conflict has left the country in ruins and impoverished, and has starved its population. Many desperate families see two ways out for their children: selling them off as brides or allowing their recruitment as soldiers.

Unicef said the fighting left more than 5,000 children dead or injured, and 11 million in need for humanitarian assistance.

Rebel-held eastern Ukraine is home to 220,000 children who live under the threat of mines and other explosives from nearly four years of conflict between separatists and the government in Kiev.

The fighting there escalated sharply in mid-December. A Ukrainian village and a town were hit with rocket-artillery barrages, wounding eight people and damaging about 50 homes.

Nytimes

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Iraq

Philippines Arrests Explosives Expert Tied to Mideast Militants

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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

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Iraq

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

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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

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Iraq

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

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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.

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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

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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...

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