Two suicide car bombs rocked central Baghdad killing at least 90 people and leaving 600 injured. The injured have been moved to four main hospitals of central Baghdad: Al-Karama, Ibn Nafis, Medical City and Yarmuk. The blast came in quick succession at 1030 local time (0730 GMT) while people were headed to work during the morning rush hour. The blasts targeted the ministry of justice and a provincial government office near the Green Zone, causing severe damage.
“I was busy working when there was a massive explosion,” said the 30-year-old engineer. “My colleagues fell down all around me, the office became completely dark and then I found myself in the hospital.“
This is the second largest attack after August 19th attack which had left over 100 people dead. While no group has claimed the responsibility of the Sunday blast till now; Iraq, after the last blast had blamed foreign fighters and accused Syria of involvement, demanding a UN investigation. This also led to heightened tensions between the two neighbors with each withdrawing its ambassador from the other nation.
Baghdad municipality is being viewed as the prime target of the attack which is just a few hundred yards from the ministry of foreign affairs, which was heavily damaged in the August attacks. The recent explosions blew out windows on many of the floors of the nearby Mansour hotel, one of Baghdad’s best hotels which led to the ceiling of at least one floor of the hotel caving in. The hotel building houses the Chinese embassy. As the rescue workers scanned the area body parts were found littering the hotel parking lot. Dozens of cars were smoldered in the blast.
Final toll of dead and injured is likely to go up after the area is cleared by rescue workers who are looking for survivors in the rubble.
“Why are they doing this to us?” shouted another man at the scene of that attack.
Top Iraqi leaders were scheduled to meet to try to end a deadlock over a stalled election law amid growing concerns that the country’s January 16 election will have to be delayed. The meeting was scheduled to take place at 3:30 pm (1230 GMT).
“I am concerned that between now … and July 2010, basically throughout the election and after with the transfer from the old government to the new government, maybe you will see terrorist activities increase,” he (Lieutenant General Ali Ghaidan Majeed, Commander of Iraqi Ground Forces) said.
While the Obama administration is committed to withdraw all forces by August 2010, the recent spate of attacks have surely caused concerns and may lead to the decision being reconsidered.