BAGHDAD — A string of attacks in Baghdad, including two bombings near prominent government buildings, killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 530 Wednesday morning in the bloodiest day in the capital since the withdrawal of U.S. troops from cities.
The attacks happened in close succession late Wednesday morning. The two deadliest bombings targeted the finance and foreign ministries, which are among the most heavily guarded buildings in Baghdad, Iraqi authorities said.
Separately, at least six mortars rained down on two heavily transited locations in central Baghdad, Iraqi officials said. Three mortars targeted the Green Zone, the fortified enclave in Baghdad that contains the U.S. Embassy and many Iraqi government offices.
The bloodiest of the day’s attacks was a bombing just outside the Foreign Ministry that killed at least 47 people and wounded 195, officials said. The massive blast, apparently from a vehicle packed with explosives, was particularly deadly because the government recently removed some of the concrete walls that the U.S. military had erected to protect against car bombs.
The explosion just feet from the ministry building, which is near the Green Zone and close to the Iraqi parliament, left a crater about 80 feet wide and 12 feet deep. Maj. Gen. Jihad al-Jaberi, the head of the Baghdad bomb squad, said the bomb had two tons of explosives.
Unfortunately, I think this kind of thing will go on for a long, long time in Iraq. The surge bought us important time, and that time was put to good use in creating at least a semblance of an Iraqi governing structure and military. But none of Iraq’s basic political problems and ethnic and religious differences have been resolved; if you look back at the benchmarks of progress that President Bush established in his 2006 speech announcing the surge, few have been achieved. There’s still no oil law, no de-Bathification law, no resolution of the situation in Kirkuk and the Kurdish area. In fact, U.S. Gen. Ray Odierno wants to move U.S. troops into that area in hopes of easing the violence there, even as American forces are supposed to be winding down their involvement.
There are some situations in which the best we can do simply isn’t very good. Iraq is proving to be such a situation, and so may Afghanistan.