[QODLink]
Middle East
Multiple explosions rock Baghdad
Deadly bomb blasts come as Iraq awaits formation of a new government.
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2010 02:10 GMT

The bomb blasts caused an electricity substation to explode in Baghdad's Rasheed district [AFP]

 

At least 16 people have been killed and 45 others wounded after gunmen exploded a series of bombs in rapid succession across Baghdad, the interior ministry has said.

Security officials said that at least five bombs rocked Iraq's central bank in the capital within one hour on Sunday, as employees were leaving.

The first bomb blast caused a local electricity substation to explode, which in turn led black smoke to rise over the surrounding neighbourhood.

The gunmen were continuing to occupy the building and the attackers had posted snipers on the roof of the bank in an attempt to deter police and soldiers from wrestling back control, according to the defence official.

Major General Qassim Atta, a spokesman for the security forces in Baghdad, said soldiers and police were "besieging" the attackers whom he described as "a terrorist group."

He said it was unclear if they had intended to rob the bank, target its employees and take hostages, or destroy the building.

'Forward steps'

The bomb blasts came one day before the opening of the second parliament since the US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003.

The opening session of the Council of Representatives marks one of the few tangible forward steps taken by Iraq's politicians since a general election on March 7 resulted in deadlock between rival parties.

Diplomats and politicians, warned ahead of Monday's opening that a new government continues to appear some way off, and that it may be several months before the fine detail on the country's new leaders takes shape.

The Iraqiya bloc, led by former prime minister Iyad Allawi, won most seats, 91, in the election, followed closely by prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law Alliance, which won 89, but both have failed to build a coalition government.

In a sign that the political tempo may be speeding up, Allawi and Maliki held a long-awaited meeting on Saturday, which was described as "friendly and positive," according to a brief statement released by the prime minister.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.