IranWire has seen a copy of an intelligence report received by Iraqi officials on Wednesday which warned ISIS could carry out bomb attacks in the country on Friday, January 22.
The report is thought to have been issued by the Falcons Intelligence Cell, a 5,000-strong government counter-terrorism unit comprising intelligence officers, law enforcement and other operatives conducting covert operations to fight hostile groups such as ISIS.
Dated January 20, this internal document anticipates that ISIS (referred to in Arabic as “Daesh”) will shortly target mosques, Shia hussainiyas (houses of worship), city squares and public markets, using either improvised explosive devices or suicide bombs.
Yesterday morning a twin suicide bombing ripped through a marketplace in central Baghdad, killing at least 32 people and wounding 73 others.
Yahya Rasoul, spokesman for the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, told the Iraqi News Agency Wa'a that the perpetrators were “two suicide bombers who blew themselves up while being pursued by security forces in Bab Al-Sharqi district in Baghdad”.
Security measures, he added, had been tightened in central Baghdad and the Green Zone. Mustafa Al-Kazemi, the Commander-in-Chief, has also ordered an immediate investigation and placed forces on high alert.
The intelligence report issued on Wednesday warns that “terrorist operations” could be carried out in the listed types of locations “on Friday”. It places a particular emphasis on public squares in Baghdad and adds, “the targeting will take place over the next few days”.
Yesterday’s atrocity has been condemned by countries across the ideological spectrum including Iran, Turkey, Jordan, Yemen, Palestine, Egypt, members of the Gulf Corporation, the US and Canada.
The US Embassy in Baghdad, which was targeted in a bomb attack by Shia militia groups late last year, issued a statement that declared: "This attack is a cowardly and disgraceful act that affirms the dangers that millions of Iraqis still face from terrorism."
ISIS operatives were officially expelled from Iraqi government-controlled territory in 2017. But the terror group has continued to launch regular attacks against Iraqi forces and officials in the northern parts of the country.