2017 General People's Senate bombing

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2017 General People's Senate Bombing
Part of the Islamic collectivist insurgency in Rifat
Smoke rises from the General People's Senate
Location Bendigha, Rifat
Date July 3rd, 2017
11:05 - 11:06
Target Government of Rifati
Rifati government officials
Journalists
Specifically:
Ahmet Boudjedra
Farouk Benboulaid
Attack type Truck bombing
Suicide bombing
Deaths 85 (including perpetrator)
Injured 397
Assailants IFDF.png Nautasian Freedom Defence Front
Motive Islamic collectivism
Anti-regime

The 2017 General People's Senate bombing, also known as the Bendigha bombing, was a suicide truck bombing that occured on July 3rd, 2017 in Bendigha, Rifat. Islamic collectivist sympathizer and former Rifati Army soldier Saddam Boulala drove a stolen fuel truck, rigged with explosives, through the main gates of the General People's Senate building and into the building itself before detonating the explosives. The General People's Senate was in session at the time, with both President Ahmet Boudjera and Prime Minister Farouk Benboulaid present at the time. The explosion killed 59 people immediately, including Boulala himself, and injured over 200 others. The explosion set fire to the building, causing a further 20 deaths and at least 100 injuries from burns or smoke inhalation.

The bombing was the most significant terror attack in Rifati history, surpassing the 1990 Banifita Barracks bombing. The bombing was also the first for the "Rifati Regional Command" of the Nautasian Freedom Defence Front, which had previously resorted to hit and run and gun attacks in their methods. The aim of the attack was to kill the President, Prime Minister, as well as many government officials as possible. It's suspected by many that the assassination was going to pave the way for some form of internal anti-governmental action, possibly a coup or uprising, by Islamic collectivists within the military and government.

Background

Attack

At 11:05am Boulala mounted the curb on the southern side of Hurriyah Square from Hurriyah Avenue, driving across the open plaza between 65-85mph north towards the glass lobby and atrium of the main building of the General People's Senate. His vehicle struck at least 23 people, killing 5 people before he smashed into the lobby, where he detonated the explosives inside the fuel tank at 11.06am. The explosion tore through the lobby and surrounding corridors on the first, second and third floors and out of the glass facade of the lobby. The explosion killed 59 people immediately, including Boulala; 19 people inside the building and 30 people outside; most of whom were senators and journalists speaking about the Rawadarif Crisis.

Each stage of the attack.

The explosion caused significant structural damage to the Lobby section of the General People's Senate, while the Chamber itself did not sustain any damage. The explosion blew-out windows of the Defence Ministry, the Education Ministry and the National Office of Statistics, which injured 11 people.

The explosion, mixed with the vast amounts of fuel inside the tank caused a major fire which quickly spread across the southern section of the building. The fire, which raged for three hours, resulted in the deaths of 20 people and injured up to a further 100 people.

The attack lasted 99 seconds according to the Bendigha Police Service.

Immediate aftermath

Both Ahmet Boudjedra, the President and Farouk Benboulaid, the Prime Minister, who were in the Chamber in preparation for the morning's session, was evacuated by their security team in the Governmental car, and taken to Raheem Ebdelkader House. Their evacuation went unreported to the police or media for over two hours, causing deep confusion over who was in charge of the country.

Additional armed police officers and paramedics arrived, swiftly followed by large numbers of fire-fighters due to the accelerants in the attack-vehicle. The Senate was suspended and Senators inside at th time were evacuated to the Kassim Benbrika Gardens due to the fire. Senatorial staff were confined to their offices in the northern end; journalists and visitors to the Senate were not permitted to leave the building's southern exits and were evacuate through the northern offices section to Kassim Benbrika Gardens.

The Rifati Armed Forces were placed on high alert, with the capital's garrison ordered onto the streets, both as a re-assurance measure and to deter a possible follow up attack.

Casualties

85 people, including the attacker, died as a result of the incident, and around 345 others were injured, some of them severely. Of the 85 people killed, 28 were elected members of the Senate, 17 were reporters from various printed and televised media outlets and the remainder for either tourists or staff members. A vast majority of the victims, 59 in total were killed as a result of the explosion itself, either through debris, heat or the shockwave. 10 deaths and at least 100 injuries were caused by the resulting fire that engulfed the southern-section of the Senate building, mostly from smoke inhalation, while 3 of those injured later died for their injuries.

Five people were killed and 13 injured, when Boulala drove through the congregation of people, journalists and senators outside the lobby, as well as striking down two security officers when the vehicle smashed into the lobby. They however, were killed in the explosion. Five people, later died from their injuries over the following days.

Damage to the Senate interior near the Central Gardens.

Among the deceased, were 11 government senators, including Chief Whip, Tahar Boumedienne, the chief political correspondent for Rifati 24, Jamelia Tarik and Ahmet Benida, the chief political editor of the Bendigha Telegraph, the two most widely watched and read outlets respectively. Tarafah Makhloufi, the Technology Minister suffered extensive injuries, losing his right leg through amputation. While, Amani Arkour, a leading left-wing politician lost his eye-sight and was paralyzed from the waist down.

Injuries

Over 180 people received serious injuries, some described as "catastrophic", and 66 others were treated for less serious injuries at the scene. Injured were mostly taken to Bendigha University Hospital and the Islamic Hospital of Rifat, just 800 meters away, the Hurriyah Square itself was used as an emergency triage centre for those who were described as "life-endangered". In total, 345 people were injured in the explosion, fire and falling debris.

Attacker

The attacker was identified by the National Intelligence Directorate as 32-year-old Rifat Saddam Boulala. He was born in Wad Medawaba in Umm Rawadarif Wilayah. He previously served as a soldier in the Rifati Army between 2005-2017, until he was dishonorably discharged in April for "extremist tendencies", including open Islamic Collectivist rhetoric against the democratic system, the Rifati Army later revealed that "he was never considered a security threat. He held views at odds with the Army's position on democracy and the constitution and was viewed as a negative influence on fellow soldiers in his unit."

The NID also revealed later, that they became "aware" of Boulala after he posted images of himself with known leaders of the Nautasian Freedom Defence Front several days prior to the bombing. However, the NID at the time prior to the bombing did not consider the NFDF to be a "viable threat to Rifati national security", instead focusing their efforts and resources in combating support for the Caliphate.

Motive

According to the NID report released on the 6 July, the NFDF conducted the bombing at the "behest of the Rifati Alliance for Islamic Liberation and its supportive elements in the Rifati Armed Forces, especially in the Nabaghassett region. The aim of the attack was to kill the President, Prime Minister, as well as many government officials as possible. It's suspected that the assassination was going to pave the way for some form of internal anti-governmental action, possibly a coup or uprising, by Islamic collectivists within the military and government."

The report by the NID dramatically inflamed tensions in the Nabaghassett region, primarily the tense standoff between the government and anti-government protests in Umm Rawadarif. The report eventually sparked armed confrontations, that escalated into a full-blown rebellion, followed swiftly by the so-called "Nabaghassett Putsch", in which vast amount of soldiers of the Rifati Army in the region defected to the Rifati Alliance for Islamic Liberation.

Ties to the NFDF

Reactions

Domestic

Nabahghessett Region

Rawadarif Uprising

International