Two huge car bombs went off in downtown Baghdad Sunday, killing at least 136 people in an attempt to target the city's government offices, Iraqi medical officials and authorities said.
The blasts took place in an area just a few hundred yards from the heavily protected Green Zone that houses the U.S. Embassy as well as the prime minister's offices. "This is a political struggle, the price of which we are paying," said a Shiite member of the Baghdad Provincial Council, Mohammed al-Rubaiey. According to the AP, he said at least 25 members of the provincial council staff died in the blasts. "Every politician is responsible and even the government is responsible, as well as security leaders."
Sunday's blasts, which also wounded at least 250 people, went off less than a minute apart near two prominent government institutions — the Ministry of Justice and the headquarters of the Baghdad provincial administration — in a neighborhood that houses a number of government institutions. Two American security contractors were injured in the blasts, said Philip Frayne, an embassy spokesman in Baghdad.
The explosions were caused by car bombs aimed at government institutions, said Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Mousawi, spokesman for the city's operations command center. The explosive-laden vehicles were parked in car parks next to the two government building, police said.