Updated at 11:25 a.m. EDT, Oct. 26, 2009
The worst bombing in two years targeted government buildings in Baghdad and left 160 dead and at least 700 wounded just hours before the Iraqi government would again try to solve an elections law impasse. Three U.S. contractors were also wounded. The death toll eclipses that of “Bloody Wednesday” which left over 100 dead two months ago. Only four other Iraqis were reported killed elsewhere and two more were wounded.
In Baghdad, a pair of suicide car bombers drove into two parking garages in Salhiyah before detonating their cargo and killing at least 160 people. The number of wounded is at least 540, but several sources reported over 700 wounded. Among the wounded were three American contractors. As in the Bloody Wednesday attacks, government buildings were the targets, but the bombs were so massive today that windows were broken a mile away. Many civilians were among the victims. At the Justice Ministry alone, thirty children were killed in a day-care center. A three-day mourning period was announced and security has been heightened.
One of blasts killed two kidnappers and wounded another, allowing their victim to escape their grasp. Even as other violence is on the wane, Baghdad continues to suffer from frequent but underreported abductions. Thousands of Iraqis have disappeared over the years since the 2003 invasion and even before. Iraqis have only recently felt safe enough to begin the search for their missing loved ones among the over 17,000 unidentified bodies found. Many, however, could be entombed in secret mass graves scattered throughout the country.
The body of a kidnap victim was found in Kirkuk.
A bomb targeting an M.N.F. patrol near Hawija left no casualties.
Near Hayy, a bomb targeting a U.S. patrol damaged a vehicle, but no casualties were reported.
A suspect was arrested in Diwaniya.
Eight suspects were detained in Basra province.
Police in Kut tightened security following the attack in Baghdad.