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Suicide bomber targeting commercial area in Baquba, Iraq, kills 16 and injures 54

Iraqi-regions-most-affected-by-explosive-violence-3A suicide bomber in Iraq killed at least 16 people and injured a further 54 on May 9th 2016. The attack is reported to have taken place in a commercial area, in the Shiite neighbourhood of Baquba, eastern Iraq.

The suicide bomber detonated the bomb in an explosives-filled minibus, on Monday evening, near to a restaurant and bakery where people were eating.

Though no one, as of yet, has claimed the attack, it is widely believed to have been committed by ISIS insurgents. ISIS frequently targets populated areas in Shiite-dominated areas. A double suicide bombing on May 1st , for instance, targeted another Shiite populated area in Samawa, southern Iraq. The attack on May 1st killed 32 and injured at least 75.

ISIS attacks on Shiite generally target highly populated areas, what are known as “soft targets”. In these events the casualties are almost exclusively civilians.

For example, when explosive weapons are used in a market, AOAV’s data shows that the vast majority of victims are civilians – 99%.

AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitor 2015 found that 4,078 civilians were killed or injured by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq. This accounted for 80% of all civilian deaths and injuries from explosive violence in Iraq in 2015.

Over the last five years in Iraq (2011-2015), civilian deaths and injuries from IED accounted for 90% of all civilian deaths and injuries.

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. From January to the end of March, 2015, AOAV’s Explosive Weapons Monitor recorded 49 incidents in Iraq accounting for some 957 civilian deaths and injuries. Of these incidents, 9 were suicide bombings, which alone resulted in a total of 512 civilian deaths and injuries – an average of 57 deaths and injuries per attack.

It is evident that suicide bombings, particularly, 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.