And this two days after THE ASSOCIATED PRESS filed "White House says ISIS 'shrinking' as group launches new attacks in Iraq."
NBC NEWS notes, "A car bomb targeting an outdoor market in a Shiite-dominated neighborhood of Baghdad killed at least 28 people on Tuesday." The car bombing was one attack, a female suicide bomber was another and then the Sadr City section of Baghdad was also targeted with a car bombing. Of the first two bombings, XINHUA observes, "The attackers apparently followed the old tactic of first creating an initial explosion to attract security forces and people, and then setting off another blast to inflict heavier casualties."
In the brief time since the bombings the death toll has continued to rise.
Sinan Salaheddin (AP) notes the death toll reached 36. Lizzie Dearden (INDEPENDENT) updates with 58 dead and at least 91 injured.
It's likely these numbers will be updated further as the day unfolds.
Meanwhile, Amar Toor (THE VERGE) reports the Iraqi government has been repeatedly shutting down the internet. They lead with the option that this is to prevent cheating on exams.
Later, they note:
The Iraqi government has previously blocked internet access and social media sites for political reasons; about a quarter of the country was blacked out last year in an attempt to hinder ISIS. As Vocativ notes, other countries have curtailed web access to prevent cheating on exams, including Uzbekistan, which implemented a nationwide block in 2014, and the Indian state of Gujarat, which shut down mobile networks for four hours this year to thwart cheating on a national test for accountants.
Human rights groups have expressed concern over Iraq's shutdown, which comes amid heightened political instability. "Given the security situation in Iraq, it’s quite an extreme measure," Deji Olukotun, senior global advocacy manager at the digital rights group Access Now, tells The Atlantic. "We see this as really disproportionate to what they’re trying to achieve."
Shutting down the internet should outrage everyone.
And who in the world wants to be Uzbekistan? (Not even Uzbekistan.)
Haider al-Abadi's government continues to lead a race to the bottom.
THE VERGE would do well to grasp what has gone on in the last months -- the shutting down of TV channels.
We'll again note Saif Hameed's "Iraq takes aim at media as security forces struggle to contain strife" (REUTERS).
And regardless of the real reason for shutting down the internet for a few hours over several days, it is part of the general attacks on freedom of expression that Haider al-Abadi has overseen and laughed at.
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