95 Killed as Blood Flows Free on Baghdad Streets

Blood flowed free on Baghdad streets Wednesday as at least 95 people were killed and nearly 550 others were wounded, many grievously when two trucks loaded with explosives detonated in the high security areas of the Iraqi capital, in what was the deadliest day of fatalities in more than a year.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki blamed the attacks on Sunni Muslim extremists.

The attacks brought back memories of a suicide truck bombing at the UN headquarters in Baghdad on this day in 2003, 23 people were killed in the macabre strike.

The explosions on Wednesday came exactly 50 days after US forces moved out of urban areas, leaving the Iraqi army and the federal police responsible for maintaining the fragile peace in Baghdad.

Al-Maliki, in a written statement, said the attacks would prompt reassessment of security tactics employed by the government.

Aspersions cast over the security arrangements notwithstanding, Maliki stressed that performance of the Iraqi security forces was in line with the government’s expectations.

The first blast, a massive truck bomb exploded near a security checkpoint leading to the heavily fortified Green Zone, windows at the nearby foreign ministry were blown out by the impact that sent shards of glass through busy offices, killing at least 60 people.

Windows of Iraq’s parliament building were shattered by the sheer force of the explosion that was heard for miles, and resulted in billows of smoke rising above the capital skyline.

The other explosion was triggered under a traffic bridge near the Finance Ministry. The impact tore down part of the bridge, killing 35 people and wounding hundreds of others.

20 people were wounded in four smaller explosions across Baghdad; two of them were identified as homemade bombs, while the other two were reportedly caused by mortars.

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