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112 killed as car bombs rock Baghdad

world Updated: Dec 08, 2009 17:03 IST
Reuters
Car bombs

Car bombs killed at least 112 people in the heart of the Iraqi capital on Tuesday, striking government buildings despite a security crackdown after a series of high-profile attacks.

The blasts, most detonated by suicide bombers, were a brutal reminder of the potency of Iraq's stubborn insurgency ahead of next year's election and an auction of oilfield contracts due this weekend.

"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 197 wounded in the series of at least four blasts.

Smoke billowed and sirens wailed as emergency workers removed the dead in black body bags.

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

Another explosion struck a temporary building used by the Finance Ministry after its main premises were devastated in a bombing in August. It was unclear whether this blast involved a suicide bomber.

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

The first blast occurred in the southern Baghdad district of Doura 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 a planned tender of oilfield development contracts on December 11 and 12, which executives from the world's main oil companies were 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.

Workers outside the ministry who had been preparing the premises for the auction fled to safety after the first of three blasts shook thing.