Five huge blasts rocked central Baghdad on Sunday just hours after the launch of a national conference meant, according to its organizers, to move Iraq on the road toward "democracy".
Some of the blasts seemed to target the Green Zone fortified enclave where the conference was taking place, though black smoke rose over a neighborhood outside the Green Zone.
The conference is charged with appointing a 100-member national council that will act as a substitute legislature to approve the budget and advise the government as it paves the way for national elections in January 2005.
The conference was to be held two weeks ago but was delayed due to security reasons.
According to reports, three mortars hit a commuter bus station in central Baghdad on Sunday afternoon, killing at least one person and injuring several others, officials said. However, there were contradictory reports regarding the death toll.
Police Lt. Yasser Fawaz, who was at the scene, said about 10 people were killed and about 15 others injured.
Meanwhile, Interior Ministry spokesman Col. Adnan Abdulrahman said the attack killed one person and injured five others. The mortars appeared to target the Green Zone, the fortified enclave where the conference was being held, but hit the station by mistake, Fawaz said.
The ground at the bus station was littered with shrapnel and shards of glass and stained with blood. Later, gunfire could be heard in the area. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )