Carnage on a Saturday evening in Baghdad. Families were out shopping in the mainly Shia area. The suicide bomb attack in the city was the deadliest in Iraq this year and believed to be the worst since 2007.
The strike in Baghdad came 24 hours after one in Dhaka where Bangladeshi army commandos broke a siege at a cafe killing six of the attackers.
As with the shooting at a gay club in Orlando and the killing of a policeman and his wife in France only three weeks ago, the latest atrocities were claimed by the so-called Islamic State.
The attacks were part of the strategy announced by a spokesman in May. He called on ISIL fighters to mount further attacks against the West during Ramadan. A tactic which masks the militants losses.
‘‘ISIL committed another crime by targeting innocent people in Baghdad. It carried out this attack after it had suffered heavy losses in men and equipment in the battlefield,’‘ explained Major General Kadim Shahban, Director General of Civil Defence.
Since the multinational coalition launched air strikes on ISIL positions in Iraq and Syria the jihadists have lost almost 40 percent of the populated territory it once had in Iraq and 10-20 percent of the populated territory it had seized in Syria.
The loss of Fallujah was a huge blow for ISIL. It was the first major city which the terrorists had seized and it was a key base to launch attacks on the capital around 50 kilometres to the east. The militants had held it since 2014. ISIL fighters are now fleeing the area.
“They were withdrawing from an area near Amiriyah al-Fallujah. Most of the militants were foreign fighters who refused to surrender to our troops,” said Lieutenant General Hamid al-Maliki, Airforce Commander.
A growing number of ISIL fighters are understood to be trying to flee from the so-called caliphate to get back to their home countries.
According to the International Centre for the study of Radicalisation (ICSR) in London there are various reasons including the bombings, assaults, local leaders’ corruption or even boredom.
The group’s territorial losses have cut its monthly revenue by almost 30 percent in the last year as around half its money comes from taxation and confiscation. Nearly all its oilfields have been targeted by airstrikes.
Such territorial, revenue and personal losses means ISIL has moved away from being a self-proclaimed caliphate but the most recent attacks claimed through social media are a stark reminder that ISIL still exists.