Toll in Baghdad bombings reaches 64


Baghdad : At least 64 people were killed and 360 wounded, according to the Iraqi Minister of Health Wednesday, from a series of attacks that targeted mostly Shiite neighbourhoods throughout the Iraqi capital overnight.

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A series of car bombings, suicide bombings, mortar attacks and explosions from improvised devices rocked Baghdad and forced many residents to stay in doors all evening.

Minister of Health Saleh al-Hasnawi Vitsrih told Iraqi state television that those injured from the evening’s blasts continued to make their way to hospitals Wednesday for treatment.

The streets of Baghdad were gridlocked by morning due to stringent checkpoint inspections, forcing many Iraqis to walk to work.

The blasts – around 21 in all – targeted cafes, restaurants and popular markets. Eleven of them were car bombs and attacks by suicide bombers, witnesses told DPA.

The Governor of Baghdad Salah Abdul Razzaq described the attacks as “a brutal crime” on Iraq state television.

Police closed all roads around the explosions and told people not to leave their homes, as the sound of ambulances wailed throughout the city Tuesday evening.

Early Wednesday people began preparing the funerals of those killed in the attacks, setting up tents for mourners to come and pray.

Black banners with the names of victims lined the city’s streets as dozens of residents gathered at hospitals in Baghdad to monitor the health of their children and loved one who were seriously injured.

It was the deadliest series of attacks since August, when a wave of bombings saw over 20 attacks in a single day across the country, killing over 60 people.

This latest upsurge in violence came as Baghdad was still reeling from an attack by militants affiliated with Al Qaeda who took worshippers hostage at a church two days earlier. More than 52 people were killed and more than 75 injured in the incident.

The attacks took place amid a political stalemate surrounding the formation of a new government that has dragged on for nearly eight months.

The violence also comes as some 50,000 US troops remain in Iraq, its lowest number since the 2003 invasion.