Explosive violence by Islamic StateExplosive violence in Iraq

A series of bombings across Iraqi capital Baghdad kills 23

sadr cityOn Monday, May 30th 2016, a series of bombings were carried out across the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. In total, the attacks are thought to have killed at least 23, with a further 50 injured in the explosions.

The bombings were perpetrated by ISIS militants. The militant group’s stronghold in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, is under increasing attack from Iraqi forces, which are supported by the US-led coalition. The bombings in Baghdad are thought by some to be a tactic to divert the attention of security forces from Fallujah and other frontlines.

Two of the attacks took place in predominantly Shiite neighbourhoods of Baghdad, Shaab and Sadr City. The remaining incident was carried out outside government offices in Tarmiya. All the attacks were all carried out with improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

In Shaab, northern Baghdad, a car bomb killed 12 and injured over 20 more at a checkpoint near a commercial area. At least eight of those killed are said to be civilians.

The only attack carried out in a Sunni area, was in Tarmiya, north Baghdad. In Tarmiya a suicide bomber detonated a car full of explosive at an outdoor market, near a police station and government building. The blast in Tarmiya killed eight and injured 21. Three of those killed were police officers.

In Sadr City, another suicide bomber detonated his explosives at a market – killing three and wounding 10.

This series of attacks mirror similar incidents over the last month. On May 17th a series of blasts across the capital left 77 dead and 140 injured. An attack at a Shiite market in Baghdad on May 11th killed 64 and injured 87. Further bombings have been perpetrated by ISIS in many areas of Iraq, including Baquba and Samawa.

ISIS have used IEDs persistently across Iraq in order to target civilians in highly populated areas. Last year, IEDs were responsible for 4,078 civilian deaths and injuries – 80% of the total civilian deaths and injuries in Iraq.

From January to April this year, explosive violence perpetrated by ISIS was responsible for at least 992 civilian deaths and injuries in Iraq. Of these, 97% were caused by IEDs.

AOAV has recorded 43 IED incidents in Iraq accounting for some 1260 civilian deaths and injuries just in the first four months of 2016. Of these, 16 attacks were suicide bombings. The suicide bombings alone resulted in 629 civilian deaths and injuries – an average of 39 deaths and injuries per attack.

It is evident that IEDs, especially suicide bombings, are extremely lethal and are seeing wider and wider use. AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitor 2015 found that of all IED attacks, the ones that posed the most danger were suicide attacks.

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.