Dozens killed as bombs rock Iraq

Twin car bombs targeting two government buildings killed at least 62 people and wounded 158 in central Baghdad on Sunday, police said, in the bloodiest attack in the capital for two months.

Violence has fallen in Iraq since United States-backed tribal sheikhs helped wrest control from al-Qaeda militants and Washington sent extra troops, but attacks are still common in a nation trying to rebuild after decades of conflict, sanctions and strife.

The two blasts shook buildings and smoke billowed from the area in central Baghdad near the Tigris River. The first blast targeted the Justice Ministry and the second, minutes later, was aimed at the provincial government building, police said.

The streets were flooded with water, and firefighters pulled charred and mangled bodies off the streets. About six burnt-out cars were piled up near the provincial government office.

Men carried corpses in blankets away from the scene and a dozen others tried to turn over a car with two bodies beneath.

“I don’t know how I’m still alive.
The explosion destroyed everything ... it’s like it was an earthquake, nothing is still in its place,” local shop owner Hamid Saadi told Reuters by telephone from near the Justice Ministry.

US military officials say attacks like these are aimed at reigniting sectarian conflict that gripped the nation after the US-led 2003 invasion, or at undermining confidence in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki before a parliamentary election next year.

Al-Maliki is expected to run on improved security conditions throughout the nation.

The blasts hit two months after bombings on August 19 targeting the foreign and finance ministries that killed almost 100 people and wounded hundreds more. That attack prompted a rare admission of lapses by Iraqi security forces.—Reuters

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