Last evening, ISIS decided to enforce the Ramadan fast with a car bomb aimed at families and children visiting a local Ice Cream shop in the Iraqi capital city. The terrorist bomb left a death toll of 31 many of which were children, as ISIS militants claimed responsibility.
Iraqi officials said families with children were enjoying a late-night snack after breaking their fast for Ramadan when the explosions went off. Closed-circuit camera video of the explosion shows a busy downtown avenue, with cars driving down the street when a massive blast strikes.
That scene is quickly replaced with a huge fireball that engulfs a building, forcing the cars to scramble to get away. Videos of the attack posted on social media show wounded and bloodied people crying for help on the sidewalk outside the ice cream parlor.
The terrorist group is once again turning to bombing attacks aimed at innocent children and families as the group comes under increasing pressure in the battle for the country’s second largest city, Mosul. In recent weeks, ISIS terrorists have been steadily losing more territory to U.S.-backed Iraqi forces in the battle in western Iraq. The Sunni extremists are becoming more desperate and increasingly turning to terror tactics to cover their losses.
Al Jazeera reported that in a macabre scene, many of those injured in the bombing had propped themselves up on colorful benches outside the shop. It is unclear how many of the dead were children, but the report mentioned one girl who was wearing a ribbon and bow in her hair, wandered around in an apparent daze after the blast.
The Ice Cream shop blast was followed with a second bombing when an explosives-laden car went off near the state-run Public Pension Office in Baghdad’s busy Shawaka area. Officials said that attack left 14 dead and according to a police officer, another 37 were wounded in that attack.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility, saying a suicide bomber carried out the attack. “[ISIS] wants Iraqis to fear going out and this is to show they are still present and able to strike the heart of the Iraqi capital, even as they are being defeated on the battlefield,” Hayder al-Khoei, a London-based Middle East expert, told Al Jazeera.
The attacks came just days into the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims fast during daylight hours. After sundown, families break their fast and Baghdad’s restaurants and cafes quickly fill up with people staying up long into the night. During Ramadan last year almost 300 people were killed in the deadliest single attack in the Iraqi capital in 13 years of war. That attack was also claimed by ISIS.