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FEATURING RAHUL MAHAJAN – About 200 people have been estimated killed in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, after a refrigerator truck full of explosives detonated on a busy street in the Karrada neighborhood. Iraqis had been out late on Sunday in preparation for the end of Ramadan. It was the single worst attack in Iraq since 2003 when a bombing claimed 215 lives.

The Iraq attack came just days after a major hostage situation ended in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. An upscale cafe frequented by foreigners was targeted by 5 gunmen who took hostages, separated the Muslims from the non-Muslims, and stabbed a number of people to death. The attack ended when Bangladeshi commandos stormed the cafe killing at least 5 of the attackers. At least 28 people were dead at the end of the siege.

The Islamic State claimed credit for the Baghdad attack, while a Bangladesh-based fundamentalist organization that has pledged allegiance to ISIS is apparently responsible for the attack in Dhaka. With these incidents coming on the heels of the attacks at Istanbul airport in Turkey, many are wondering how great the Islamic State’s reach has become.

Rahul Mahajan is a PhD student in sociology at the University of Wisconsin and a news analyst. He is the author of two books on the Iraq war: Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond and The New Crusade: America’s War on Terrorism. He is also the US Foreign Policy and Empire Correspondent for Rising Up.

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