On May 13, 2015 as pilgrims were heading to the Imam Kadhim shrine in Baghdad’s Kadhimiya district a rumor spread that there was a suicide bomber emerging from neighboring Adhamiya. That set off a mob, which stormed into Adhamiya and burned 17 houses, five cars, and the investment department of the Sunni Endowment. Four people were burned to death inside their home, and seventeen others were wounded. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) were called in to put down the rioting, and Prime Minister Haider Abadi ordered anyone arrested there to be prosecuted. Later the commander of the Baghdad Operations Command said that the events were planned and meant to provoke terror amongst the pilgrims and Adhamiya. The head of the Iraqi Coalition accused militias of being behind the attack.
The events in Adhamiya could have turned into a disaster. Sectarianism is already running high in Iraq after the Islamic State’s summer offensive, and now there was Shiites rampaging through a Sunni neighborhood. If elements of the Hashd al-Shaabi were involved it could have been from those groups that have become increasingly critical of the prime minister, and was meant to provoke wider chaos and violence across the country, and undermine Abadi’s rule. Instead, the premier stepped in quickly, and there was widespread condemnation from all sectors of the riot.
After math of the rioting in Adhamiya
Agence France Presse, "Record crowd for violence-marred Baghdad pilgrimage," 5/14/15
AIN, “Shiite Endowment: demanding an investigation into cause of Adhamiya and hold perpetrators accountable,” 5/14/15
- “Urgent Evens in Al-Adhamiya planned but controlled, BOC announces,” 5/14/15
Al Forat, “BOC: What happened in al-Adhamiya yesterday was planned,” 5/14/15
Al Masalah, “Abadi order to prosecute troublemakers for sedition in Adhamiya,” 5/14/15
- “Adhamiya nips sedition in the bud,” 5/13/15
NINA, “Coalition of Iraqi Forces confirms that what happened in Adhamiya city reflects foreign agendas,” 5/14/15
Sowell, Kirk, “Abadi and the Militias’ Political Offensive,” Sada, 5/14/15
Xinhua, "Iraqi forces curb sectarian riot as Shiite pilgrims observe major ritual in Baghdad," 5/14/15