Suicide Bomber Attacks Stadium In Baghdad, Killing At Least 29 — REPORT
According to Iraqi security officials, a suicide bomber attacked a football stadium in Baghdad Friday, killing at least 29 and leaving at least 60 people injured. The attacker reportedly detonated his bomb in a crowd after a local football game ended. The attack took place in Iskandariyah, a town 25 miles out of Iraq's capital, according to The Independent.
The blast took place around 7:00 p.m. local time, and medics confirmed that the mayor of Iskandariyah was killed in the attack, according to Yahoo! News. Reuters reports that an ISIS-affiliated news agency, Amaq, has already claimed that ISIS militants were behind the attack.
Earlier this March, just 50 miles from Iskandariyah, a suicide bomber killed at least 60 people when he drove an explosive-filled fuel truck into a highway security checkpoint near Hilla. ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack as well, according to Al-Jazeera. That same day, they also claimed to be behind a suicide bombing at a funeral 50 miles north of Baghdad, in Muqdadiya, which killed 40. In the past month, a suicide bombing killed 15 people attending a Baghdad mosque; only three days later, another attack in a busy Baghdad market killed 70 and injured over 100 people, according to Reuters.
The number of attacks by ISIS in the Iraqi capital has been rising, and the militant group has increased their use of car bombs and suicide bombers. The upswing in guerilla tactics comes as an Iraqi coalition makes progress in reclaiming territories previously held by ISIS, according to The Atlantic. With international support, the Iraqi coalition has been making progress on ISIS and has recaptured key cities, such as Ramadi.
Some estimates say ISIS has lost as much as 40 percent of its previously-held territory in Iraq, and 20 percent of its land in Syria, according to ABC. However, as ISIS loses ground, they may attempt to ramp up terrorist attacks both in Iraq and abroad. According to the Associated Press, the Iskandariyah attack came on the heels of an announcement by military spokesman Yahya Rusoul, who claimed Iraqi troops had reclaimed the town of Kubeisa from ISIS.
The ongoing battle, while making progress, has been undeniably taxing on Baghdad and the rest of Iraq. According to CTV, United Nations estimates show at least 670 Iraqis were killed throughout February, two-thirds of them civilians. January figures were even more devastating, with 849 killed and 1,450 injured. So far, the city of Baghdad has been the area most affected by the violence in the country.