Explosive violence by Islamic StateExplosive violence in Iraq

Deadliest attack in Iraq since 2007- almost 500 killed and injured by ISIS bombing

iraqThe death toll had risen to 324 by August, according to Iraq’s health minister.

The attack on  July 3rd 2016, saw at least 492 were killed or injured in Baghdad, Iraq, when a lorry packed with explosives was detonated in the busy commercial area of Karrada district.

The attack in the predominantly Shia Muslim neighbourhood killed and injured many as they shopped for the holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

The attack, claimed by ISIS, killed at least 292 and injured a further 200, in what is the deadliest attack since 2007, when multiple bombings in Yazidi villages near Mosul killed at least 400.

Hours later, a second bomb exploded killing another 5 people just north of the capital.

AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitor 2015 found that last year explosive violence across Iraq left more than 5,000 civilians dead or injured. For the last five years, Iraq has remained consistently one of the five worst countries affected by explosive violence in the world – often taking first or second place.

The numbers of civilians killed or injured by explosive violence in Iraq last year meant that this beleaguered country was the third worst affected country by explosive violence. In 2015, only Syria and Yemen saw more civilians killed or injured by explosive violence.

In 2015, 89% of the civilians killed or injured from explosive weapons were when that violence took place in populated areas, such as markets, commercial areas, residential areas, or places of worship. Of the civilians killed or injured in explosive violence last year where the status of the perpetrators were identified, 76% was perpetrated by non-state actors, whilst the remainder (24%) was perpetrated by state actors.

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Tweeted by Ian Bremmer (@ianbremmer): Every Baghdad car bomb in the last decade (ht @rezahakbari)

Given that IEDs are almost explicitly used by non-state actors, groups such as ISIS pose a significant threat to civilians, particularly given the lethality of IEDs like suicide bombs and car bombs. IEDs have been the weapons used in almost all ISIS attacks in Iraq. Last year, IEDs were responsible for 4,078 civilian deaths and injuries – 80% of the total civilian deaths and injuries in 2015. It is evident that IEDs, are extremely lethal and are seeing wider and wider use.

Shiite populations are often a target of ISIS attacks. Some of ISIS’s recent attacks targeting Shiites include: the suicide bombing at a football stadium killing at least 41 and injuring 105, suicide attacks on the Shiite majority city of Hillah, killing at least 47, and a suicide bombing  at a market targeting Shiite civilians, which killed at least 67 and injured more than 150.

AOAV records casualties (i.e. people killed and injured) from explosive violence around the world as reported in English-language news sources. The data reflected here cannot capture the full scale of the civilian suffering in Iraq, but is indicative of the patterns of harm that exist when explosive weapons are used in populated areas.

AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and calls upon all groups to reject the deliberate targeting of civilians. States must urgently address the threat of suicide bombings and other forms of IED attacks. Reports by AOAV show the increasing use and harm of suicide bombings around the world.  It is a growing reality that highlights the need for urgent preventative measures that States should establish – such as stockpile controls – to limit groups’ ability to produce these and other IEDs.