Bomb explosions kill several people in central Baghdad

Monday, January 25, 2010

Three successive suicide car bombs in Baghdad, capital of Iraq killed at least 36 people, according to the Iraqi ministry. The incident occurred just before the country's election, scheduled for March 7.

"There were three explosions, one near the Sheraton hotel the other near the Babylon hotel. The third we are checking into," stated Baghdad security spokesman Major General Qassim al-Moussawi.

The Ministry of Interior, Iraq stated that 36 people had died and 71 wounded. The three explosions occurred in rapid succession and sent smoke clouds in the sky. The first bomb exploded at 3.40 pm. Subsequently, fire engines arrived at the hotels and the police and soldiers together barred entry.

The next blast occurred at the Babylon hotel, which is often used by the government for meeting. Subsequently, another car bomb blasted the Hamra hotel compound, which hosts multiple news agencies.

According to witnesses, gunmen dressed in business suits had fired the checkpoint guards. During the firing, the building gate was opened. The van entered and was detonated. The explosion took place in a section where there were residential homes. The blast opened a gigantic crater, 12 feet wide and 6 feet deep only about 50 feet from the hotel. It completely destroyed the house just in the front of the building, where several bodies were discovered by rescue workers.

Um Riyadh, resident of the demolished house escaped with multiple injuries. "We lost the house. We lost everything. Why should I stay in Iraq? I’m going to leave. There’s no other solution.", said the victim of the attack.

Although no group claimed responsibility, Saad Mutalabi, an adviser to the Iraqi Cabinet, blamed Al Qaeda. "It is a signature of Al Qaeda. I don't think any of the political forces in Iraq would commit such an atrocity. It would not benefit any of them.", said he.

The attack collided with the execution of Ali Hassan Majid, or "Chemical Ali".

Earlier this month, Iraqi security forces, aided American intelligence agencies, had barred a massive attack on the city. They had seized several pounds of explosives and had brought the city to a temporary standstill.

The earlier attacks were allegedly executed by Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, in alliance with Saddam Hussein’s Baath party. This has not been proved as of now.

Multiple bombings have killed several people in Iraq, in the past few months. Iraqi authorities fear that such attacks may have been carried out to disrupt the forthcoming the general elections of Iraq.