Scores killed as car bombs rock Baghdad

Car bombs killed at least 112 people in Baghdad today, police said, leaving pools of blood, charred buses and scattered body parts in a brutal reminder of the threat from Iraq's stubborn insurgency.

The blasts, most detonated by suicide bombers, ripped through crowded areas close to government buildings, which should have been under tight security after previous devastating attacks in the capital in recent months.

The bombings undermine Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's claims to have brought security to the country before a national election now scheduled for March 6, and could rattle foreign oil chiefs due in Iraq this weekend for a major contract auction.

"We had entered a shop seconds before the blast, the ceiling caved in on us, and we lost consciousness. Then I heard screams and sirens all around," said Mohammed Abdul Ridha, one of the 425 wounded in the series of at least four blasts.

Baghdad security spokesman Major General Qassim al-Moussawi gave a lower death toll of 63. It was not possible to explain the discrepancy with the numbers provided by police sources. The Health Ministry said it was difficult to determine the exact number because many bodies had been blown to pieces.

Smoke billowed and sirens wailed as emergency workers removed the dead in black body bags. Pools of blood had formed next to burnt-out minibuses, police vehicles and dozens of crumpled cars at one bomb site, the blast leaving a huge crater.

"What these gangs are doing are criminal acts which express their bankruptcy and disappointment ... after what the Iraqi people and its political powers have achieved," Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi said in a statement.

Analysts said the attacks, similar to spectacular bombings in the Iraqi capital in October and August, were meant to shake faith in Iraq's Shi'ite Muslim-led government.

The earlier blasts were blamed on Sunni Islamist insurgents and members of Saddam Hussein's outlawed Baath party.

"It's the same style and the same vital targets. There is one political motive -- to show that the government has failed to provide security," said analyst Hazim al-Nuaimi.



OIL AUCTION STILL ON

In one attack, a suicide bomber blew up his vehicle in the car park of a courthouse, after getting through a checkpoint, police said.

Another blast, this time a parked car bomb and not a suicide bomber, struck a temporary building used by the Finance Ministry after its main premises were devastated in the August bombing.

A third bomber blew himself and his car up near a training centre for judges.

The first blast of the day struck a police checkpoint in south Baghdad about 30 minutes before the other three. It, too, was a suicide bomber in a car packed with explosives.

Iraq's Oil Ministry said it would not cancel the planned tender of oilfield development contracts on December 11 and 12, which executives from the world's main oil companies are due to attend. The deals are seen as crucial to Iraq's efforts to raise the cash required to rebuild after years of war and destruction.



NEW INSURGENT TACTIC

Overall violence in Iraq has fallen sharply in the last two years, and November's monthly civilian death toll was the lowest since the 2003 US invasion.

But Iraq's security forces, now largely working alone after US troops pulled out of urban centres in June, have struggled to prevent major attacks that experts say require strong intelligence-gathering to prevent.



A handful of US soldiers were at the scene of one blast site, collecting evidence, while Iraqi police looked on.

Today's attacks were the worst in Baghdad since October 25, when two massive truck bombs killed 155 people at the Justice Ministry and the offices of the governor of Baghdad.

After each attack, the government ordered tighter security and Maliki promised the culprits would be captured.

The bombings mark a change of tactics for Sunni Islamist insurgent groups such as al Qaeda. Rather than frequent, smaller-scale attacks against soft targets such as markets, they now appear to be aiming for spectacular and less frequent strikes against state targets.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Mystery man: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in '‘Gone Girl'
films... by the director David Fincher
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
stoptober... when the patch, gum and cold turkey had all faied
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
people
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Welsh Teacher Year 2 required in Caerphilly

£100 - £105 per day + plus Travel Scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job:...

Year 4 Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to work in ...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?