The end of 2016 and the start of 2017 was marred with blood and sorrow from terrorist attacks in two capitals: Istanbul and Baghdad. ISIL, or Da’esh as it is also called, has claimed responsibility for the attacks in both cities.
In Istanbul during the early hours of January 1, a man gunned down partygoers celebrating the New Year at a popular nightclub, leaving at least 39 dead and injuring dozens more. The victims came from thirteen different countries. Turkish police have not yet apprehended the perpetrator, but Turkish officials announced they have identified the gunman.
U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Istanbul, and in a statement extended “condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims and to the people of Turkey.” He said the United States “stands in solidarity with our NATO Ally Turkey in combating the ongoing threat of terrorism. Sadly,” he added, “this heinous attack is only the latest effort to kill and maim innocent civilians. These attacks only reinforce our strong determination to work with the government of Turkey to counter the scourge of terrorism.”
In Baghdad, a series of terrorist attacks on December 31st and January 2 has left close to 90 people dead and dozens more injured. ISIL has claimed responsibility for the twin bombings in Baghdad on the 31st and for a suicide truck-bomb attack on January 2 that took place in Sadr City, a Shia district of eastern Baghdad.
State Department Spokesperson John Kirby condemned the attacks “in the strongest possible terms,” and in a statement also extended the “deepest condolences to the families of the victims and hope for a speedy recovery of all those wounded.”
“These vicious acts of mass murder,” Mr. Kirby said, “are a sobering reminder of the need to continue coalition operations against Da’esh and to eliminate the threat this terrorist group poses. The U.S. reaffirms its commitment to support the government and people of Iraq in this struggle, and remains steadfast in its commitment to the Global Coalition to degrade and defeat Da’esh.”