Iraq has executed three individuals who were convicted of being involved in a vehicle bombing in Baghdad that resulted in the deaths of over 300 people and injured hundreds more in 2016. The attack occurred during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and remains the deadliest single bombing incident in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003.
The Islamic State group (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack. While IS has lost control of its territory and been defeated in many areas, it still maintains a level of activity.
The executed individuals were not named in the official announcement from Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani’s office. However, it is reported that Ghazwan al-Zawbaee, believed to be the mastermind behind the attack, was among those put to death. Zawbaee was captured and brought back to Iraq in 2021.
The prime minister’s office stated that the executions were carried out as the “rightful punishment of a death sentence” against “three key criminals found guilty of their involvement in the terrorist bombing.”
The 2016 bombing targeted a crowded shopping center in Karrada, a predominantly Shia Muslim area in Baghdad. A subsequent fire that started in the building after the explosion killed many of the victims. The incident led to the resignation of the Interior Minister at the time, and the then-Prime Minister accused Zawbaee of being the primary instigator behind the attack.
Despite the territorial losses suffered by IS in recent years, the group still maintains a presence in Iraq and Syria, with thousands of militants estimated to be active in the region.
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