As the holy month of Ramzan draws to a close, the Muslim community of the world takes to the streets to prepare for the festivities of the coming Eid. Families leave their homes after sunset, buying clothes and bangles for their children and themselves, flocking to entertainment venues and visiting restaurants. It is a joyous time, when the trials of the holy month are about to end; leading to a time of blissful celebration and feasting.

It was at such a time, when families thronged the popular Karada district in the middle of Baghdad that a lorry filled with explosives detonated in the middle of the crowd – taking more than 200 lives and injuring many more. The festival of Eid is over, not just for the families of those affected by this heinous attack but for the rest of Baghdad too – perhaps even for Iraq itself.

One cannot begin to imagine the toll it takes on the residents of Iraq and Syria – the pressure of observing festivities in the middle of a raging warzone. How does one pretend to be happy? How does one pretend to be normal? For us sitting removed from the horrors of the Middle East, only the harrowing images of the aftermath remains.

Yet it seems the aftermath is becoming increasingly hopeless. An image is doing the rounds on the internet showing all the locations where car bombs have exploded in Baghdad since 2003. The image is shocking – it is not pockmark pattern, nor even a concentrated distribution; almost every single inch of the city is covered by red dots. The ancient and historic city of Baghdad has been reduced to rubble and ashes, with scared citizens scurrying from one building to the next, throwing furtive glances over their shoulders.

Considering all this, it is not surprising that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s convoy was pelted with stones when he tried to visit the bombing site. The anger with the government for failing to protect the citizens is strong. The government may have re-captured the city of Fallujah, but Islamic State still has the capacity to strike back at the heart of Iraq. The government needs to do more – focus on intelligence gathering and counter-terrorism.

Taking back towns and strongholds from the IS will be meaningless if Iraqi society is shattered in the process.