In the early hours Sunday morning, as hundreds of Iraqis gathered at a shopping mall in the Karrada shopping district during the holy month of Ramadan, many of them shopping for gifts for the festival of Eid, a car bomb exploded, killing hundreds of people. The latest report from Reuters says that Iraq's Health Ministry puts the death toll at 250.
My sincerest condolences to those who were injured and/or traumatized, and to the families and friends of the people who were killed.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack. At the Washington Post, Ishaan Tharoor details that it was the latest, and worst, in a series of deadly attacks over days—and yet has gotten comparatively little media attention:
First, they came for Istanbul. On Tuesday night, three suspected Islamic State militants launched a brazen assault on Turkey's main airport, exploding their suicide vests after gunning down numerous passengers and airport staff. At least 45 people were killed. The world panicked; Istanbul Ataturk Airport is one of the busiest hubs in Europe and the Middle East, and it is among the most fortified. Are our airports safe, wondered American TV anchors. Could this happen here on the Fourth of July?Two-hundred and fifty people killed by IS, and yet "we have become almost numb to the violence in Baghdad: Deadly car bombings there conjure up no hashtags, no Facebook profile pictures with the Iraqi flag, and no Western newspaper front pages of the victims' names and life stories, and they attract only muted global sympathy."
Next, they came for Dhaka. Gunmen whom many have linked to the Islamic State raided a popular cafe in an upscale neighborhood in Bangladesh's teeming capital. After a 10-hour standoff, authorities stormed the establishment; at least 20 hostages, mostly Italian and Japanese nationals, died at the militants' hands. U.S. college students also were among the dead. The Islamic State's reach is growing far from the Middle East, security experts fretted. Foreigners are at risk all over the Muslim world.
Then, they attacked Baghdad. ...The area is predominantly Shiite, making it a choice target for the Sunni extremist group.
I don't know what to say other than that I care. This matters to me. It makes me angry and it fills me with grief.
And again I find myself unable to do anything but bear witness. Which isn't enough, but it is all I can do. We all must do at least that.