At least 127 people have been killed and more than 400 others injured by a series of car bombs in the second most bloody day in Iraq this year.
Coming within minutes of each other, the explosions caused panic as people tried to flee the city centre and the resulting carnage and chaos. Most of the blasts are believed to have been triggered by suicide bombers. Each explosion ripped through crowded areas close to buildings symbolising the government’s authority. One explosion hit a temporary building being used by Iraq’s Finance Ministry. Its main premises were devastated by a bombing in August. A police checkpoint and a judicial training centre were among the other sites struck. Rather than frequent attacks on soft targets such as markets and mosques, today’s blasts appear to suggest militants have shifted their focus to more large-scale strikes. Iraq’s government has blamed Sunni Islamist insurgents for the strikes and accused them of trying to destabilise the country after parliament ended an impasse on Sunday allowing national elections to be held next year. The US government has also condemned the attacks which come just two days before foreign officials are due in the country for an auction of oilfield contracts.