Updated at 11:19 p.m. EST, Dec. 8, 2009
An attack on government buildings in Baghdad left hundreds dead or injured even as the presidential council set March 7 for the next national election. Overall, at least 133 people were killed and another 531 were wounded across Iraq. Increased violence is expected before those elections. Meanwhile, a British intelligence official admitted at an inquiry that before the 2003 invasion the UK believed Saddam had dismantled Iraq’s biological and chemical weapons. Former Joint Intelligence Committee head, John Scarlett, added that officials feared they could be reassembled.
At least 127 people were killed and 519 more were wounded in a series of car bombings in Baghdad. Not only is it the third major attack on the capital since August, it also follows a new tactic in striking at protected government buildings. The Labor Ministry, the Finance Ministry, the Interior Ministry and a courthouse were the targets of four coordinated blasts. Earlier, a suicide bomb attack likely unrelated to the other four was directed at a police patrol in Doura, leaving 15 dead and 23 wounded there. Also, a roadside bomb targeting American troops wounded four Iraqis in Bab al-Sham instead. Sporadic gunfire was heard afterwards. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki blamed al-Qaeda and Ba’athists living in Syria. Such accusations have previously raised tensions between Iraq and its neigbhor to the west.
Gunmen killed a civilian during a rare attack in Arbil.
In Saidiya, two civilians were wounded in a roadside bomb blast.
A police colonel was wounded during a small arms attack in Garma.
A blast in Hawija targeted an M.N.F. patrol but left no casualties.
Twelve suspects were captured in Basra province.
Five suspects were arrested in Asiriya village.
Kut police tightened security following the Baghdad attacks.
The Transportation Ministry is helping coordinate the withdrawal of MNF troops through its ports and railways.