Blasts in Baghdad target embassies

2010-04-04 18:55

Baghdad - Three suicide car bombs targeting regional and European embassies rocked Baghdad on Sunday, killing 30 people in a surge of violence as Iraqis struggle to form a government four weeks after elections.

Officials said the near-simultaneous blasts, which a minister said bore the mark of al-Qaeda, also wounded 224 people. Witnesses reported mayhem as ambulances and emergency workers raced to the sites of the explosions.

Two blasts were suicide attacks against the Egyptian and Iranian embassies, while a third struck an intersection near the German, Spanish and Syrian missions.

Among the dead were the Egyptian mission's Iraqi head of security and an Iraqi guard at the German embassy.

Baghdad security spokesperson Major General Qassim Atta said security forces had stopped a bomb-laden car in Masbah, central Baghdad, which was apparently going to attack the headquarters of police tasked with protecting embassies.

The driver was arrested and the device was defused, he said.

"It looks like (al-Qaeda)," Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told AFP. "I really feel it's early, however, unless we ensure the investigation is complete" to say for sure who masterminded the bombings, he added.

"They bear the same marks of previous attacks, in the timing, the targeting, the simultaneous attacks on different targets in different places to have maximum impact," Zebari said, referring to co-ordinated bombings in August, October, December and January that killed more than 400 people.

Security officials had warned that protracted coalition building could give insurgents an opportunity to further destabilise the country.

"This is a political attack, aimed at derailing the process, sending a message that the terrorists are still in business," Zebari said.

"Because of the vacuum of forming the next government, they wanted to send that message."