Baghdad (AsiaNews) – "These acts of violence against God and man have no justification whatsoever. They are cannibalistic acts; even animals do not commit such terrible acts, hitting at a mall where there are women, children, young people. There are no excuses,” said Mgr Shlemon Warduni, Chaldean auxiliary bishop of Baghdad.
The prelate does not mince his words when slamming yesterday’s attack by the Islamic State (IS) group (AKA as Daesh in its Arabic acronym) in the Iraqi capital that left dozens dead.
The prelate told AsiaNews that "in spite of the efforts and good intentions, the government is unable to provide security. There is a lot of chatter, but little is done. And explosions, kidnappings, and violence have begun again."
For this reason, "I call on everyone to pray that Europe, the United States, the West wake up from their slumber and act not to make war, but to promote true peace. Do not sell weapons, but rebuild together. Two years ago I said that without decisive action, [Jihadis] would come knocking on your door, at the gates of Europe."
Daesh announced that it targeted Shia Muslims in the attack on a Baghdad shopping centre, which reportedly killed 18 people.
Gunmen attacked the al-Jawhara shopping centre in Baghdad al-Jadida on Monday evening, after setting off a car bomb.
When security forces stormed the building, two assailants detonated explosive belts, while two others were shot dead, police sources say.
At the same time, 20 people died when two bombs exploded north of Baghdad.
Security sources said an improvised explosive device was detonated at a teashop in the town of Muqdadiya, which is some 80 kilometres from the capital.
A second device blew up as medics rushed to the scene to treat the wounded.
Later, five civilians were killed when a car bomb exploded in the south-eastern Baghdad suburb of Nahrawan, police and medics said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombings in Muqdadiya and Nahrawan, but Daesh said in a statement posted online that it was behind the attack on the Baghdad shopping centre, which is located in a predominantly Shia district.
The Sunni Muslim jihadi group said it had targeted "rejectionist heathens" – its derogatory term for Shia.
For the auxiliary bishop of Baghdad, "there is no trace of God" in the terrorists’ actions, only "terrible acts" that cause "sadness and tears."
The Chaldean Church has responded to this spiral of violence and terror through charity work for Christians and Muslims alike.
"This morning,” Mgr Warduni said, “I went with a group of Caritas volunteers to a refugee camp located 20 kilometres from the capital, sheltering some 1,600 families who fled Ramadi,” scene of a tough battle between the army and Jihadis.
Most of the families are Muslim, the prelate noted. “We handed out food, oil, basic necessities, aid . . . People thanked us, said that these are real acts by Christians that everyone should do, not as Daesh, which only thinks about violence and terror. This is the fifth aid distribution by the Iraqi Church in recent months."
Meanwhile, a US airstrike blew up a Daesh warehouse in Mosul, where the terror group stored the equivalent of millions of dollar in cash to finance their operations, a senior US defence official said on Monday. It was unknown how much money was in the facility, but it is estimated to be “in the millions”.
Cutting off funding to al-Baghdadi’s militants (from oil sales, stolen antiquities smuggling, and taxes raised in the territory under their control) remains one of the objectives of the international coalition.
Even if coalition airstrikes succeed in bringing down ISIS’s oil production – which nets the terror group an estimated US$ 450 million in revenues each year – a small army of tax collectors is raking in nearly as much.