Twin blasts kill dozens near Baghdad

Successive explosions kill at least 35 and injure 28 others outside an Iraqi government building in the town of Taji.

    The wrecked remains of a vehicle used in Tuesday's bomb attack in the town of Taji [Reuters]

    At least thirty-five people have been killed and about 28 others wounded in two explosions that went off near a government council building outside of Baghdad.

    A parked car bomb exploded on Tuesday morning, quickly followed by another blast, as visitors were entering the building in the town of Taji, about 20km north of the Iraqi capital.

    "As people gathered to take a look at the explosion, a secondary explosion took place, this believed to be another [car] bomb parked nearby," Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh reported from Basra.

    "The place was crowded with people who were going to process official papers and with police and employees," Raad al-Tamimi, the head of the Taji municipality, said.

    "It was awful ... some of the lightly wounded people were running in all directions, either crying or screaming for help,'' a policeman who identified himself only by his nickname, Abu Haider, said at the scene. He said he was not authorised to give his full name.

    Witnesses said burnt human bodies, some of them women, were lying on the ground and that about 20 cars were on fire.

    The government blames the Iraqi branch of Al Qaeda for Tuesday’s blasts.

    There has been a pattern of attacks targeting provincial council buildings in recent months, Rageh reported.

    "These are clearly part of some sort of campaign targeting provincial and local governments, perhaps an attempt to increase anger at the central government for failing to protect these local municipalities," she explained.

     

    Tuesday's attacks follow a series of blasts and gun attacks during the past two days.

    Green Zone attack

    Earlier on Tuesday, Iraqi officials reported a late night rocket attack on Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, which they said killed four and wounded 10.

    A police officer said armed men fired a Katyusha rocket launcher late on Monday night as Americans were celebrating independence day at the US Embassy, which is inside the Green Zone. The officer said the rocket hit a residential complex and sparked a fire.

    A doctor at a nearby hospital, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to release the information, confirmed the casualities.

    The sprawling Green Zone houses the Iraqi government headquarters, as well as the US and British embassies. It is a regular target for mortar and Katyusha attacks by fighters.

    On Monday, armed rebels in a speeding car killed a man near his house in the town of Rashad, near Kirkuk.

    Two roadside bombs planted in front of a police officer's house blew up late on Monday in Haswa, 50km south of Baghdad. The first caused no casualties but the second exploded after police arrived at the scene, killing the homeowner and wounding two other officers.

    Also late on Monday, gunmen shot dead a police officer near his house in the town of Mussayab, about 60km south of Baghdad.

    This week's violence comes after June saw the highest monthly death toll of Iraqis so far in 2011. A total of 271 people were killed in June attacks, according to government figures.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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