By Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Baghdad’s residents are demanding beefed-up security measures and an international investigation into the gruesome July 3 bombing that rocked Baghdad’s busy Karrada district, killing almost 300 people and injuring 200 more.
The death toll is expected to rise further, as people are still missing. The bombing was the deadliest in Iraq since 2003, when US-led forces ousted Saddam Hussein.
The Karrada retail hub was packed with shoppers preparing for Eid al-Fitr, a holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack.
The bombing sparked public outrage, and citizens attacked the convoy of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who visited the scene a few hours after the explosion to examine the impact of the bombing and check on the victims. Abadi pronounced three days of mourning and said he understood the citizens’ distress.
The Karrada bombing had political repercussions. Iraqi Interior Minister Mohammed al-Ghabban resigned July 5 due to disorganization and “lack of coordination” among the security forces. Abadi accepted the resignation, according to information leaked from the Cabinet.
Several security officials in Karrada were also dismissed in an attempt to calm the citizens who were demanding accountability from officials, including the chief of the Karrada regiment, who was referred for investigation in the wake of the blast.
Abadi also ordered that pending execution verdicts for convicts be carried out to appease the angry public. The day after the blast, five convicts were executed. The Iraqi people constantly criticize the government for delaying the execution of terrorism convicts, many of whom have escaped and are currently counted among the prominent leaders of IS.