Coordinated Baghdad bombings Tuesday killed more than 75 people and wounded more than 500 in the latest attack aimed at undermining the government ahead of a key March election.
A series of coordinated car bombings Tuesday killed more than 75 people and wounded more than 500, bringing Iraq's capital to a standstill in the latest attack aimed at undermining the government ahead of a key election in March.
The attacks, three of them suicide car bombs, were carried out just two days after Parliament passed an election law after weeks of wrangling, paving the way for a vote on March 6. Two of the car bombs hit government offices that had been forced to move after their ministry buildings were bombed earlier this year.
"These cowardly terrorist attacks that took place in Baghdad today, after the Parliament succeeded in overcoming the last obstacle to conducting elections confirms that the enemies of Iraq and its people are aiming at creating chaos in the country, blocking political progress, and delaying the elections," said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has staked his popularity on getting security under control.
Rescuers dig through rubble
Iraqi soldiers and police quickly sealed off major roads around the blast sites as relatives pleaded to be let through.
"My son is at school. I don't know if he's dead or alive," an off-duty Defense Ministry employee begged an Iraqi soldier. He said he had been trying all the phone numbers for his 4-year-old son's kindergarten for the past hour and a half.
Although one of the blasts shattered windows in the kindergarten in Baghdad's Mansour district, parents later said the children were unhurt. The attack was aimed at a nearby court building, where Iraqi officials on the scene said a suicide bomber drove his van, packed with plastic explosives, through a security barrier, and exploded it in the parking lot.
The appeals court moved to the site after the Justice Ministry was bombed in October, said an Iraqi security official.
The force of the explosion hurled pieces of the olive-colored van onto the roof of building. Dozens of Iraqi civil defense workers carried the wounded to ambulances. Others, their faces darkened with soot, dug through piles of bricks for anyone buried under the rubble of the collapsed building.
Bound folders of court records, their edges singed, were buried in the mud.