SULEMANIYAH, IRAQ // At least 76 people were killed and 200 wounded when a series of bombs exploded in a coordinated attack in Baghdad last night.
Up to 12 car bombs and three suicide bombs were thought to have been involved, some detonated in mainly Shiite areas of the Iraqi capital. Cafes and restaurants were among the targets as residents were out having dinner.
Iraqi security forces imposed an immediate lock down and curfew amid concern that more bombs had yet to be triggered. Late last night no one had yet claimed responsibility for the attack. Previous such incidents have been the work of al Q’aeda in Iraq.
The bombings came two days after an assault by al Qa’eda on a Baghdad church, in which gunmen wearing suicide vests held 100 worshippers hostage during a Sunday evening mass. By the time Iraqi and US military units had completed a rescue mission, 58 civilians and security officers had lost their lives.
Senior Iraqi security officials recently warned that a “third generation” of al Qa’eda fighters, hardened in US prisons but since released, were at large in the country. Major Gen Hassan al Baidhani, army chief of staff for Baghdad operations, said their strategy depended on “shock” tactics, designed not to bring about military success but to spread fear and grab attention.