Real Madrid fan club massacres

On 13 May 2016, a group of militants armed with AK-47s attacked a cafe in Balad, Iraq, frequented by supporters of the Spanish football club Real Madrid.[1] The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attack.[2] At least 16 people were killed and at least 30 were wounded.

Real Madrid Fan Club massacre
Part of the Iraqi Civil War (2014–2017)
Balad
Real Madrid fan club massacres (Iraq)
Location of Balad, where the attacks took place, in Iraq.
LocationBalad, Iraq
Date13/29 May 2016
TargetShia football fans
Attack type
Shooting, suicide bombing
WeaponsAK-47s, bombs
DeathsTotal: 28+ (+1 bomber)
  • May 13: 16+
  • May 29: 12+ (+1 bomber)
InjuredTotal: 45+
  • May 13: 30+
  • May 29: 15+
PerpetratorsIslamic State of Iraq and the Levant

On 29 May 2016, ISIL gunmen and a suicide bomber attacked another Real Madrid fan club in the same area, killing at least 12 people and injuring around 15. They were attacked while watching the 2016 UEFA Champions League Final.[3]

Events

During the first attack on May 13, around 50 fans of Real Madrid were gathered in a café in Balad, to discuss their arrangements for their favorite team's upcoming football match, when six armed men stormed into the café and started to shoot at the young men.[4] Reports claim that grenades were also used to attack those gathered to watch the match. Several attackers reportedly fled the cafe and then detonated themselves, one was captured but then burned to death.[5]

At least 14 people were killed outright and two more died of their wounds later on. More than 30 people were injured.[6]

Responsibility

Survivors of the attack blamed the attack on May 13 on ISIL and its opposition to football.[5]

In its claim of responsibility, ISIL said the attack had targeted Shia militiamen, making no mention of any connection to Real Madrid.[2] Some believe that the claim stems from the extremist groups ideology against football, as they believe it is a product of western society.[7]

Reaction

The attack was condemned by soccer fans around the world.[8] Javier Tebas Medrano the President of Spain's La Liga responded to the attack with the statement "Terrorism has attacked football. We are with the victims and their families."[5] The Real Madrid football club itself expressed "great sadness" and offered its "regards and condolences" to the families and friends of the victims.[9] Real Madrid players wore black armbands for their away game against Deportivo de La Coruña, on 14 May 2016, as a mark of respect.[10] The team also honoured the victims by observing a moment of silence before their match.[6]

On May 28, 2016 family and friends of victims gathered at the cafe to watch the game, surrounded by armed police, frisking those who attempted to enter the cafe.[11]

After the second attack, Florentino Pérez, the club president, dedicated Real Madrid's win to the fans that were killed, and other Iraqi club fans, including those killed by ISIS.[12] Alaa al-Hashemi, the Iraqi ambassador to Spain, thanked the club and invited the president to visit Iraq.[13]

See also

References

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