(ConservativeUnit)- The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed it was behind the two deadly suicide bombing attacks in Iraq on Thursday that wounded more than 100 people and killed at least 32.
The suicide bombings, which are rare there, happened in Baghdad’s commercial area of Bab al-Sharqi in the central part of the city. The second-hand market was heavily populated with people when the two suicide bombings occurred on Thursday.
The timing of the attacks have come into question, as they occurred just one day after President Joe Biden took office. Under former President Donald Trump, the U.S. was drawing down troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. This sparked concerns that ISIS would reappear and take advantage in the region.
Hassan Mohammed al-Tamini, the health minister of Iraq, confirmed the number of injured and killed people in the attacks. He also said some of those who were wounded are in serious condition.
According a spokesman for the Joint Operations Command, Major General Tahsin al-Khafaji, the first suicide bomber attracted a crowd to gather around him by yelling out loudly that he was ill. He did this while he was in a very crowded market. When the people crowded around him, the man detonated the bomb that was on his belt.
Shortly after that, the second suicide bomber detonated the bomb on his belt.
“This is a terrorist act perpetrated by a sleeper cell of the Islamic State.”
He further said ISIS “wanted to prove its existence” after the group suffered multiple blows to during military operations that rooted out the militant group.
Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for the United Nations, said U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the suicide bombings in Iraq. He said the general was appealing to Iraqi people “to reject any attempts to spread fear and violence aimed at undermining peace, stability and unity.”
The chief of the U.N. also called on the Iraqi government “to ensure that those behind these horrific crimes are swiftly identified and brought to justice,” according to Dujarric’s statement.
The suicide bombings were the first such attacks on the commercial district in Baghdad in more than three years. In 2018, similar attacks happened in the same area following a declaration from Haidar al-Abadi, the former Prime Minister, that victory was won over the Islamic State.
In recent months, there have been attacks by the Islamic State group as well as Shiite militia groups in Iraq. Rocket and mortar attacks have been popular ways of attacking and targeting the presence of Americans in the country. A lot of their attacks have been focused on the U.S. Embassy, which is located in the heavily-fortified Green Zone in Baghdad.
Those attacks have slowed in recent months, though, following an informal truce by armed groups backed by Iran in October.
This week’s attacks came only days after the government in Iraq agreed that they would hold elections early in October. The country is also dealing with an economic crisis brought on by the government being forced to borrow money internally due to low oil prices caused, in part, by the coronavirus pandemic.