BAGHDAD, IRAQ – Hussien al-Shawili was queuing for lunch at Fadak, a crowded restaurant on the road between Baghdad and Basra in southern Iraq, with his mother and son when the the attack happened.

“Suddenly, we heard gunshots but we ignored it as we thought it was a quarrel, but the shooting became intensive and mixed with screams of women and children,” he told MEE.

Shawili, his family and hundreds of others were caught up in the biggest assault by Islamic State since the group was driven from Mosul, its Iraqi power base, in July – and exposing southern Iraq as vulnerable as the organisation tries to regroup.

“I told my mother that this is the end,” he said from his home in Basra, “as it was a matter of time before the militants finish their work in the front halls and come to where we were.”


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Featured image courtesy of AP