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Across the world, people are mourning a string of attacks that have killed hundreds of people in Iraq, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia during the final days of the holy month of Ramadan. The deadliest attack occurred in Baghdad early Sunday morning, when more than 200 people were killed when a suicide truck bomb exploded in a busy shopping district. It was one of the deadliest attacks in Iraq since the 2003 U.S. invasion. ISIS has claimed responsibility. Many of the victims were children and families who had gathered to shop for new clothes for this week’s Eid al-Fitr celebration, which marks the end of Ramadan. On Sunday, a local resident decried the bombing.
Ali Mohammed: “Is this Eid? Every Eid, we celebrate. Is this our Eid? Is this our Eid? Is this our Eid that everybody celebrates? Is this the Eid we should celebrate? People came to buy clothes to celebrate Eid. Now they are buying coffins. They’re buying coffins. May God punish those who are responsible.”
More than two days after the attacks, the death toll continues to rise as more and more bodies are discovered in the rubble. Today, Iraqi Major General Kadim Sahban spoke about the recovery effort.
Major General Kadim Sahban: “We are still searching for dead bodies. Today, we were able to exhume remains, and we will continue searching for human remains at the scene. We found documents and mobiles belonging to victims.”
Sunday’s bombing in Baghdad came only two days after militants seized control of a trendy restaurant in Dhaka, Bangladesh, taking dozens hostage and ultimately killing 22 people. On Friday, a half-dozen attackers stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery in the diplomatic district of the capital, wielding explosives, guns and swords. In the ensuing 11-hour siege, the militants killed 20 diners from around the world, including nine Italians, seven Japanese, one Indian, two Bangladeshis and one U.S. citizen. Two police officers were later killed when the authorities raided the restaurant and killed five of the six attackers. Authorities say the six attackers were young men from Bangladesh’s elite, many of whom attended the country’s top schools. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, although Bangladeshi officials say the men were part of local militant groups. On Monday, hundreds gathered in Dhaka to honor the victims.
Khushi Kabir: “We have gathered here today in grief, in anger, in solidarity, in protest of the gruesome killings of innocent people who had just gone to have dinner. This kind of an attack in a public place with innocent civilians, many of whom were our guests in our country, is something that is unacceptable to all people of this country.”
Meanwhile, on Monday, militants carried out three separate suicide bomb attacks across Saudi Arabia, including an attack in the holy city of Medina that killed four security officers near the mosque where the Prophet Muhammad is believed to be buried. The mosque is one of the holiest sites for Muslims worldwide. Another separate attack near the U.S. Consulate in the Saudi city of Jeddah wounded two security officers. No one has yet claimed responsibility for Monday’s attacks. The string of deadly attacks comes only days after militants attacked the main airport in Istanbul, Turkey, on Tuesday, killing 42 people. The airport is the 11th busiest in the world.
In news from the campaign trail, President Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton are slated to hold their first joint campaign event today in Charlotte, North Carolina. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is also expected to hold a campaign rally in North Carolina later today. Clinton’s first campaign appearance with Obama comes after the FBI interviewed Clinton on Saturday as part of its investigation into her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Unnamed sources told CNN the FBI is not expected to bring charges against Clinton. This comes in the midst of continued controversy over a meeting on the tarmac of a Phoenix airport between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton last week. Republicans say the meeting compromises the Justice Department’s investigation into Clinton’s email use.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump is facing criticism after he tweeted an image on Saturday showing Hillary Clinton, a pile of $100 bills and a six-pointed Star of David, along with the words “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!” The tweet immediately drew criticism for being anti-Semitic. Trump has called the claims of anti-Semitism ridiculous, but he deleted the tweet and later retweeted the same image, but with the Star of David replaced by a circle. The news outlet Mic.com has reported the original image shared by the presumptive Republican presidential candidate came from a Twitter user whose feed includes a number of violent and offensive images of African Americans, Muslims and immigrants.
This comes as the Council on American-Islamic Relations is warning “American Muslims, and particularly Muslim women, are facing an unprecedented spike in discrimination and hate attacks, due in no small part to Donald Trump’s Islamophobic rhetoric and policy proposals.” This comes after Donald Trump’s comments during a town hall in New Hampshire on Thursday.
Trump Supporter: “Just to mix quickly homeland security and jobs. Why aren’t we putting our retiree—our military retirees on that border or in TSA? Get rid of all these 'hibijabis' they wear at TSA.”
Donald Trump: “Well, I—”
Trump Supporter: “I’ve seen them myself.”
Donald Trump: “Yeah, I understand that. Yeah.”
Trump Supporter: “We need the veterans back in there to take it. They’ve fought for this country and defended it. They’ll still do it.”
Donald Trump: “OK.”
Trump Supporter: “Thank you.”
Donald Trump: “You know, and we are looking at that. And we are looking at that. We’re looking at a lot of things.”
Meanwhile, police are investigating at least two attacks against Muslims over the weekend. In Houston, Texas, a Muslim doctor was ambushed, stabbed and shot multiple times by three men as he was on his way to a mosque for morning prayer on Sunday. He has survived. This came one day after a man in Florida was beaten outside a mosque in Fort Pierce on his way to morning prayers. The Florida branch of CAIR says the attacker said, “You Muslims need to get back to your country.”
Meanwhile, in Ohio, Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen has apologized after police handcuffed and pinned an Emirati tourist to the ground outside his hotel, after a hotel worker called 911 alleging the man had pledged his allegiance to ISIS. In fact, the man was simply standing outside the hotel in a formal white robe speaking on his cellphone in Arabic. The police pointed their guns at him and then pinned him on the ground, before realizing he was unarmed. The man later collapsed and had to be hospitalized.
The Obama administration has released its internal assessment of the number of civilians killed by drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. The long-awaited report claims between 64 and 116 civilians have been killed since President Obama took office. However, reporters, researchers and monitoring groups estimate the death toll from drone-related killings is as much as 10 times higher than this estimate. Even former drone operators disputed the Obama administration’s estimates. Brandon Bryant, who worked on Air Force drone teams from 2006 to 2011, told The New York Times the civilian death toll was significantly higher, saying officials were “just deluding themselves about the impact.”
In Toronto, Black Lives Matter activists shut down Canada’s largest Pride Parade on Sunday, demanding event organizers ban police floats at the parade and commit to hiring more black, trans and indigenous people for future pride events. After successfully stopping the parade for about a half-hour, the pride director met with the activists and agreed to their demands.
And writer, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel has died. The author of several dozen books, Wiesel testified to the horrors of the Holocaust. He was born September 30, 1928, in Romania. When the Nazis invaded, he and his family were deported to Auschwitz, which became the subject of his most famous book, “Night.” He went on to be an outspoken human rights activist on many issues, although he generated controversy in the human rights community by denying Israel’s role in the mass expulsion and continued oppression of Palestinians. In 1986, Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. This is part of his acceptance speech.
Elie Wiesel: “I know that as long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom cannot be true. As long as one child is hungry, our lives will be filled with anguish and shame, for I have seen children hungry. What all these victims need, above all, is to know that they are not alone, that we are not forgetting them.”