An Iraqi branch of al Qaeda has said it was behind Tuesday’s bombings which ripped through the centre of Baghdad, killing scores of people.
As families began collecting their dead for burial, many believe the attacks were aimed at destabilising Iraq’s fledgling democracy in the run- up to delayed elections.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki made a televised address calling for calm.
“I call on the Iraqi people for more patience and steadfastness and to proceed on the path of unity,” he said.
Public anger that the bombers had evaded Iraq’s security forces prompted the prime minister to sack the military chief and to pledge a review of all security strategies.
An investigation has already revealed that the plastic explosives used in the attacks came from abroad. Maliki firmly suspects foreign involvement and has accused Iraq’s neighbours of failing to prevent foreign fighters from crossing its borders.