Wed, Dec 09, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Coordinated blasts hit Baghdad, kill at least 103 people

AP AND AFP , BAGHDAD

A series of coordinated attacks struck Baghdad yesterday, including three car bombs that blew up near government sites. At least 103 were killed and 197 wounded in the worst wave of violence in the capital in more than a month, authorities said.

A total of four attacks, which also included a suicide car bomb on a police patrol, showed the ability of insurgents to strike high-profile targets in the heart of Baghdad and marked the third time since August that government buildings were targeted with multiple blasts that brought massive bloodshed.

It also was another embarrassment to Iraqi forces in their expanding role as front-line security as US forces plan their withdrawal.

The bombings marked the most serious spate of violence in Baghdad since twin car bombs on Oct. 25 struck outside Baghdad administration offices, killing at least 155. In August, suicide bombers hit the finance and foreign ministries, killing more than 100.

Iraqi officials blamed the October attacks on loyalists to former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein’s banned Baathist Party. But there are questions whether leaders are trying to shift attention away from a possible resurgence of Sunni insurgents led by al-Qaeda in Iraq.

A rise in insurgent power could be a serious blow to the government’s credibility before national polls, which the Independent High Electoral Commission announced yesterday would be held on March 6.

Security forces worry the lead-up to the election date could bring an escalation in attacks seeking to discredit the pro-Western government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The core of the attacks hit Baghdad with three car bombs exploding in the span of a few minutes.

The targets were the latest assaults directed at Iraqi authorities: near a compound with the labor ministry building, a court complex near the Iraqi-protected Green Zone and near the new site of the finance ministry after its previous building was destroyed in major attacks in August.

An official for the interior ministry said at least 99 people were killed in those three car bombs and at least 192 injured. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give information to media.

About an hour before the blasts in Baghdad, a suicide car bomber struck a police patrol in the mostly Sunni district of Dora in southern Baghdad, killing at least three policemen and one civilian and injuring five people, said a police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media.

Iraqi police said at least one of the Baghdad blasts was a suicide bomber — driving a bomb-rigged ambulance heading for the finance ministry.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top