Monday, January 11, 2016

10 Dead As Gunmen Attack Baghdad Mall, Take 75 Hostages

Tyler Durden's picture
Last week, two attacks on Sunni mosques in Iraq suggested a violent sectarian backlash may be in the cards for the war-torn country on the heels of Saudi Arabi's move to execute prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
As we noted in "Iraq Says Mosque Bombings Were False Flag ISIS Attacks," the sectarian issue is particularly divisive in post-Ba’thist Iraq and thus it wouldn't exactly be a surprise if the country' Shiite majority lashed out at Sunnis following al-Nimr's rather untimely demise.
Iraqi officials however, said the attacks were likely false flags staged by ISIS in an effort to exploit the Sheikh's execution and derail efforts to unite Sunni tribesman and Iran's powerful Shiite militias in a coordinated effort to drive Islamic State from the country.
Now, gunmen have taken some 75 hostages at a mall in a Shiite neighborhood in eastern Baghdad. 
"Police and medical officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters, say the gunmen set off a car bomb at the entrance to the mall on Monday before moving in," AP reports, adding that "the officials say another 25 people were wounded in the attack and that three police are among the dead."
"When the security forces got too close, [the attackers] killed three hostages… We are taking a cautious approach now. We want this attack to end with the lowest possible number of casualties," a source told AFP.
Here's an image from the scene:

"At least" 10 are reported dead.
Although no one has yet taken "credit" for the attack, one has to believe this is Islamic State and if so, it marks an incursion into the Iraqi capital and a serious escalation in hostilities just as the country marked its first real "victory" in Ramadi last month.
Earlier today, the group set off a car bomb in Baquba, which is a mere 40 miles from the capital.
If this is in fact ISIS, it's worth asking which of Islamic State's regional Sunni benefactors ordered an attack on Shiite civilians.


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