At least 41 killed as triple car bomb hits Baghdad

Troops examine the remnants after a bomb attack outside the Iranian EmbassyThree car bombs exploded in Baghdad yesterday in a co-ordinated attack that killed at least 41 people and ended a period of relative calm.

The suicide bombings appeared to have been aimed at foreign embassies. Two were close to the Egyptian and Iranian embassies, while the third struck an intersection near the German, Spanish and Syrian missions.

“I heard the sound of the explosion and ran out into the street to see a big cloud of dust and smoke,” said Ali Sanz Ali, 26, a labourer working close to the Iranian Embassy, near the city centre.

Cement walls outside the heavily guarded building had been flattened. “On the other side of the street, many cars had been destroyed and burnt. You could see the dead,” he said.

The dead included an Iraqi guard at the German embassy and the head of security at the Egyptian mission, where guards shot at the bomber in a failed attempt to stop his truck. More than 200 people were wounded in the bombings.

At the same time there were a number of other attempted attacks, according to the Iraqi authorities. Police intercepted a car laden with explosives which may have been targeting an organisation protecting embassies. There were also improvised explosive devices targeting police patrols.

American and Iraqi authorities have emphasised that the security situation has been improving, but similar “spectacular” attacks continue.

Yesterday’s bombings were similar to co-ordinated attacks on Baghdad in August, October and December, when ministries and administrative buildings were struck, causing hundreds of deaths. In January three hotels were the targets, including the Hamra — where The Times bureau was hit, killing a Times employee. In another incident at the weekend, men disguised in official uniforms entered Sufia village south of Baghdad and shot dead 25 people — all of whom were connected to the Sahwa or “awakening” movement. Sahwa has, since 2006, worked with American and Iraqi forces to defeat extremists.
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