The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) launched a car bomb attack in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, killing at least 17 people and injuring 32 others at an ice cream shop packed with families who were breaking their fast during the ongoing Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
According to the Guardian, “The blast outside a popular shop in the Karrada district of the Iraqi capital was followed by another attack, outside an office where people collect their government pensions, which killed 14 and wounded at least 37, according to police.”
On Tuesday morning, ISIS claimed responsibility for the first attack. ISIS, a Sunni terrorist group, also claimed to be behind the second attack, saying it was intended to target Shiite Muslims.
The total number of casualties — 31 dead and about 69 wounded — marked the highest death toll over a 24-hour period in Baghdad for months.
Women and children were among the dead and injured.
“The courtyard outside the ice-cream shop was a scene of devastation,” notes the Guardian. “Footage apparently shot on a phone minutes after the blast showed a dazed young girl stepping past the body of a woman, and what appeared to be body parts strewn across tiles covered with blood and grease.”
“ISIS terrorists tonight in Baghdad target children & families enjoying time together at an ice cream shop. We stand w/Iraq against this evil,” declared Brett McGurk, a special American presidential envoy for the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, on Twitter.
ISIS terrorists tonight in Baghdad target children & families enjoying time together at an ice cream shop. We stand w/Iraq against this evil
— Brett McGurk (@brett_mcgurk) May 29, 2017
The attacks took place Monday around midnight local time (5 p.m. ET).
NBC News reports, “The attack came during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when many people stay up past midnight and eat out to prepare to fast.”
There is usually a spike in violent terrorist attacks during Ramadan, considered the holiest month for Muslims.
Jihadist groups such as ISIS encourage their followers to step up attacks during the ongoing month, which for some Muslims is a time when martyrdom is especially valued.
“ISIS members believe blessings for ‘good deeds’ are amplified during the holy month,” points out the Guardian.
Consistent with other years, ISIS has issued its annual Ramadan call for massacres, urging jihadists to carry out an “all out war” against civilians in Western countries.
Last year, jihadists killed an estimated 421 people during the holy month, more than half of them during an ISIS attack in the same Baghdad shopping district targeted Monday. Islamic terrorists also injured about 729 people during Ramadan 2016.