Iraq: terrorist attack targets Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad

A bloody attack shocked Baghdad today when a car bomb detonated along the road in the Nahrawan area. According to the local sources (security and medical officials) the explosion, which killed at least 23 people and wounded 39, targeted the Shiite pilgrims who were walking along the road used to reach the Shrine of Imam Musa Kadhim in northern Baghdad.

Daesh, well-known in the West as Islamic State or ISIL, claimed responsibility for the suicide attack conducted using a three-ton truck bombing. In Iraq one of Daesh’s target is the Shia community and its believers, the majority in the country, considered kafirun (from the singular kafir which indicate disbeliever, infidel, heretic).

Every year the Shrine of Imam Musa Kadhim attracts thousands of Shiite pilgrims who commemorate and celebrate the seventh of twelve imams revered in Shiite Islam, died in 799 A.D. Last year another attack against Shiite pilgrims killed 13 people and caused protests in Baghdad against Sunnis resulting in four victims.

The split between Sunni and Shiite Muslims dated back the 7th century when, after the Prophet’s death in 632 A.D., the umma  (Muslim community) needed to elect his successor. The Sunnis supported Abu Bakr while Shiites believed that the Muhammad’s proper successor and Khalifa (Caliph) was his son-in-law and cousin Ali ibn Ali Talib.

The Arabic term Shia means “follower”, hence the short sentence Shiat-u ‘Ali indicated the “follower of Ali”, the “faction of Ali” or the “party of Ali”. This political division inside the Muslim community regarding the Prophet Muhammad’s successor separated the umma. During the centuries Shia Islam has elaborated theological believes and religious practices which differ from the Sunni.

Report written by ASRIE’s OSINT Unit after monitoring international and Iraqi sources