Two powerful car bomb blasts in central Baghdad have killed at least
147 people and wounded 500 others in the bloodiest attack in months.
Sunday's near-simultaneous blasts were aimed at a provincial government
building and the Ministry of Justice. Iraq's Interior Ministry says the
death toll may rise as rescue workers pull bodies from the rubble.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visited the scene soon after the massive explosions that sent smoke billowing into the sky.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Iraqi
government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh says the violence bears the
hallmarks of al-Qaida.
Violence in Iraq has dropped significantly in the past year, but
officials have warned that attacks could rise ahead of elections in
U.S. President Barack Obama called Mr. Maliki and Iraqi President Jalal
Talabani to express his condolences and reiterate U.S. support for the
Mr. Obama condemned the attacks. He said the United States will stand
with Iraq's people and government as they prepare for upcoming
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the bombings "despicable
terrorist attacks." She said those behind the violence "seek to
undermine the impressive progress that Iraq has made towards stability
and self-reliance." Clinton said they will not succeed.
And U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned what he
called "senseless and indiscriminate acts of violence." He said the
attackers repeatedly target the innocent and aim to disrupt Iraq 's
Two months ago, attackers targeted Iraq's ministries of finance and
foreign affairs. Those truck bombs killed more than 100 people and
wounded 500 others. Al-Qaida claimed responsibility for those blasts.