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An Islamic State suicide bomber killed 36 in a Baghdad market on Monday, just hours after the arrival in Iraq’s capital of French President Francois Hollande.
According to media, this was the third attack in Baghdad in a single day, and comes right after two bombings carried out on Saturday, which resulted in 28 casualties. The terrorist group also claimed responsibility for the bombing in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve, which took 39 lives.
Meanwhile, the coalition-aided Iraqi operation to retake Mosul, the largest stronghold of ISIS in Iraq, continues after a two-week pause due to the violent resistance of the terrorists. So far, Iraqi forces have retaken about a quarter of the city.
The extremist group has been under fire in both Iraq and Syria, with its stronghold in eastern Aleppo falling to Syrian and Russian forces recently. Still, IS continues to have access to oil and transport infrastructure as reported by Iraqi sources: the group has started exporting Iraqi oil by tankers into Syria. Yesterday, at least eight tankers crossed to border into Syria, to be sold in Raqqa.
Both US-backed coalition forces and the Russian military are targeting tankers and oil transportation routes, with the coalition taking out a fleet of 168 IS tankers near Palmyra last month, and Russian planes yesterday bombing IS’ main oil transport route through the Syrian Desert.
Following the Istanbul bombing, the Turkish army has also become more active in Syria, hitting more than 100 IS targets in its neighbor, near al-Bab, another stronghold of the terrorist group.
According to defectors from the group, war has been declared on Turkey right now because of its alliances with Russia and the U.S., which have, in the eyes of the extremists, turned it into “a Muslim country whose rulers have turned against Islam.”
Defectors also say that while IS continues to lose control in Syria and Iraq, it is sending more of its followers to carry out attacks abroad. In all likelihood, bombings will continue as the international push against the Islamic State in the Middle East continues.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.