In the worst violence since American troops vacated Iraq’s cities, at least 86 persons were killed and nearly 300 injured following serial explosions in the politically sensitive centre of Baghdad. The area that was attacked was in close proximity to the high security Green Zone, where embassies and a large number of Iraqi Ministries are located.

Eyewitnesses said that the Foreign and Finance Ministries were the main target of the bombings.

Trucks laden with explosives blew up outside the two Ministries causing a large number of casualties. The Foreign Ministry bombing was the deadliest, resulting in the deaths of 59 persons. Around 250 were wounded and the building suffered extensive damage. The explosion set ablaze dozens of cars which were parked outside. The death toll could climb as many victims may have been trapped under the rubble which was being cleared.

The area around the Finance Ministry was attacked for a second time when a car bomb targeted an army patrol, killing at least 19 and wounding 22.

Television footage showed that some of the windows of the Parliament building located inside the Green Zone were also blown out due to the impact of the explosion. Two mortars also landed inside the Green Zone, while another detonated outside. Besides, two blasts rocked commercial centres in the city, killing eight and wounding 40. Major-General Qassim Atta, the spokesman for the Iraqi Army’s Baghdad operations, blamed the attacks on the “Baathist Alliance,” a reference to the loyalists of the late President Saddam Hussein.

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