Iraqi capital rocked by blasts
The attacks were aimed at foreign embassies, according to sources. 224 people were wounded in the bombings which occurred in quick succession according to officials.
“They were suicide attacks against the Egyptian and Iranian embassies,” commented Major General Qassim Atta, who is the spokesperson for the Baghdad operations of the Iraqi security agencies. According to him, one of the attacks were at a junction close to the German and Syrian embassies.
The German foreign ministry officials claimed that an security guard of Iraq was killed while three others were injured. The head of the Egyptian embassy’s security was killed and several guards were wounded in the blast.
Atta stated that Iraqi security agencies had barred a car with a bomb in Masbah, central Baghdad. The car was allegedly to be used to attack the headquarters of security police, whose work was to protect embassy officials. The bomb was defused and the driver of the car arrested by security forces.
The explosions which occurred almost simultaneously broke windows in adjoining buildings, sparked exchange of gunfire between the security personnel and the attacker, thereby sending smoke clouds in the sky. Two suicide car bombs were detonated in the neighbourhood of Mansur in west Baghdad while a third explosion occurred close to the Iranian embassy in the city. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Said Mohammed, a witness of the blast near the Egyptian embassy, said guards had made an attempt to stop the bomber. “Three security guards shouted at the truck to stop moving, and opened fire on the driver,” said he. He angrily shouted at Iraqi army officers on seeing this, saying: “How did the truck get here?”
Pieces of shrapnel covered the street in front of the embassy building. The entrance to the building was destroyed; a crater five metres (16 feet) in diameter could be seen near it.
“The explosion [at the Iranian embassy] was really strong,” said Abu Ahmed, a taxi driver who was an eyewitness of one of the blasts. “They never kill ministers, officials or heads of state. They kill taxi drivers, public employees and shopkeepers. How much longer will this last?”
The frequency of attacks in Iraq has fallen from the levels in 2006 or 2007; however figures issued on Thursday showed that last month, 367 Iraqis had been killed in attacks, the highest this year.