Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has visited the site of the twin bomb atrocity in Baghdad.
He has issued a statement blaming al Qaeda and Baathist supporters of the former president Saddam Hussein. Three days of mourning have been declared by the government. Officials believe the attacks were designed to undermine confidence in security ahead of the scheduled January election. At least 25 members of the municipal authority died in the blasts. Provincial Council member Mohammed al-Rubaiey, said: “These government buildings, have been untouched over the last six years, then they start collapsing one by one. This is a deliberate plan to target the political process as a whole.” The prime minister has staked his reputation and his re-election hopes on the promise of a return to peace and a semblance of normal life in Iraq. Ishtar Talib, a witness to the bombings said: “A car bomb exploded near ordinary people. No-one knows where it came from and how it got here. Where is the government? Where are the security forces and their devices?” The attacks undoubtedly raise questions about the ability of the Iraqi security apparatus to take overall control from US troops who pulled out of Iraqi city centres in June ahead of a complete withdrawal from the country planned by the end of 2011.