Heartbreaking Image of Burned Girl Captures Agony of Iraq
The image of a 4-year-old girl staring into the camera with a penetrating glare, her face wrapped entirely in white bandages, captures the agony of Iraqis after the country struggles to recover from a horrific bomb blast that killed close to 300 people, and burned many alive.
The ISIS suicide attack, which is considered to be one of the deadliest bombings since the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003, occurred in a mostly Shiite district in Baghdad, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan — during which ISIS urged its followers to bring pain to “infidels everywhere.”
Asal Ahmed was with her family at the time of the blast, and she and her mother were badly burned, according to the Associated Press. In the photo, she’s propped up by the arms of her father. It is not known whether her mother survived the attack.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered new security measures in Baghdad in response to the blast and three days of mourning were declared in its aftermath.
ISIS has been weakened in Iraq and Syria in recent months because of battlefield losses and desertions, and some analysts have suggested that the group is in danger of losing its so-called caliphate, territory controlled by the group that stretches from eastern Syria to western Iraq.
That said, analysts say the group could be entering a new phase in its operations, one more defined by the type of brutal coordinated attacks it conducted in Paris in November of 2015 and in Baghdad this month.