A street sweeper died of his wounds in Baghdad yesterday hours after finding a bomb in a bag placed outside a liquor store in the Iraqi capital.
Issa Khamis “was doing his job and wanted to remove the bag and clean the street”, activists said on social media.
This is the latest attack on venues that serve alcohol in the city, with three separate simultaneous bombs exploding in the west of the city on 15 December causing material damages, the Iraqi security media cell said.
According to local media, security officials believe “the bombings are no longer the same as before and are limited to stun grenades designed to scare the owners of the liquor stores or nightclubs and force them to pay this or that group a monthly sum of money.”
According to Al-Monitor, a group calling itself People of the Good issued a statement on 14 December calling on Iraqi security forces to stay away from liquor shops.
“After the number of security forces increased to protect these stores, we call on them to move away from them, because we will continue targeting them until the land of Baghdad is cleared of their filth,” the group said.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry has recently announced that it closed 91 unlicensed liquor stores and nightclubs in Baghdad.
There was a proposal to ban alcohol in Iraq in 2016. It was dropped less than a year later, but a 200 per cent tax on alcohol was introduced in the 2018 budget.