BAGHDAD – Three car bombs tore through Baghdad and the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah on Sunday, killing at least 36 people. The blasts in the capital were so powerful they sheared the sides off buildings and left streets choked with chunks of rubble.
Insurgents have hammered Iraqi forces and government buildings, capitalizing on gaps in security as the U.S. scales back its military mission and Iraqi politicians fail to overcome divisions and form a new government after national elections in March.
Most of those killed in Sunday’s apparently coordinated attacks in Baghdad were civilians, and residents of the areas bombed directed their anger at a government they feel has left the city vulnerable to repeated attacks despite a network of police and army checkpoints paralyzing traffic.
“I blame this tragedy only on the government officials who are competing for positions and letting us be victims of these bombings,” said Abu Haidar, who was working in an office near one the bombed sites in Baghdad.
The deadliest attack took place in Baghdad’s northern Kazimiyah neighborhood. A car bomb detonated near a local office of the National Security Ministry in Adan Square, killing at least 21 people and wounding more than 70, police and hospital officials said.
So much pulverized cement filled the area that heavy earth-moving equipment had to be brought in to clear streets.
Minutes earlier, another car bomb killed at least 10 people and injured 10 others along a commercial artery of Baghdad’s Mansour neighborhood, said army Brig. Gen. Ali Fadhal, who is responsible for the western half of the city.
In Fallujah, a suicide attacker in a car struck an Iraqi army patrol in the city’s busy commercial district, killing one Iraqi soldier and four civilians, according to police and hospital officials. At least 15 people were wounded in the attack.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s attacks.