Islamic State assumed responsibility for a bomb attack on Friday that murdered at least two people near the U.S. Consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil. It is a new demonstration of the terrorist group’s active behavior even as the group of countries allied against it say they are making progress.
Witnesses and local security forces in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region of Iraq and a place of strategic importance for American military in the country, explained the explosion took place near a popular street-side cafe, approximately 100 yards away from the consulate’s back entrance.
A police official added that two people were killed and eight were injured in the blast. A U.S. diplomat in Baghdad mentioned there were no victims among U.S. Consulate staff.
The attack was claimed online by a branch of Islamic State. The bombing raised new worries among Iraqi officials over the IS fighters’ ability to breach a secure neighborhood in the secure and calm city with the purpose to hit Western interests there. The potential for such terrorist attacks pushed the U.S. back into military actions in the country last summer.
Also on Friday, more bombs went off in two separate neighborhoods in Baghdad. In the blast, 11 people were killed while at least 55 were injured.
An Iraqi spokeperson in the Anbar Operations Command said Islamic State got to within 500 yards of a government complex in the center of Ramadi, the most important city of the province of Anbar, which has been under Iraqi government attacks for the past two weeks.
American authorities said there hasn’t been important change in Ramadi’s situation over the past 24 hours, but the capital remained close to fall in the hands of the Islamic State.
“It’s bad. The enemy is incrementally chipping away at Iraqi Security Forces’ defenses,” said a U.S. defense official.
The latest developments show how hard is to take any measure of stability is in Iraq, in spite of a number of recent battlefield victories for Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi armies helped by U.S. airstrikes. American and Iraqi officials say the attacks, coupled with a ground man-oeuvres led mostly by Shiite militias, has cut down Islamic State’s momentum in Iraq. The pro-government fighters have captured key territory and killed an important number of fighters.
In a fresh drawback for the insurgency, Iraqi militia forces said late Thursday they executed a former deputy of former President Saddam Hussein who held a major part in turning Islamic State into a formidable fighting force.
Image Source: Aawsat