Twin Baghdad car bombs kill 29

Two near-simultaneous car bombs rocked Baghdad on Sunday killing at least 29 people and wounding 111 in the Iraqi capital's deadliest day in a month.

The violence was the worst to hit Iraq since US troops declared an official end to combat operations on September 1, and comes with no new government yet formed since a March general election.

The twin blasts struck near the Aden junction in north Baghdad and in the residential district of Mansur in the west of the capital at around 10:10 am (0710 GMT), AFP journalists and security officials said.

An interior ministry official put the death toll at 29 -- 19 died in the Aden explosion, and 10 in Mansur.

"It was a minibus -- the driver stopped and told people nearby that he was going to go see a doctor," said Abu Abdullah, 40, who was near the site of the Aden bombing. "A few minutes later, it exploded."

An AFP journalist at the scene said the blast, against an office of the Iraqi Federal Police, left a crater three metres (10 feet) in diameter.

He reported blood, torn-off pieces of clothes and shards of blackened metal littered across the street, and said that as well as the severe damage to the police office, several houses nearby had been badly hit.

In Mansur, another AFP journalist reported seeing several bloodied bodies on the street, with multiple cars burned out and two buildings destroyed, while nearby houses were also badly damaged.

The explosion hit in front of an office of mobile phone company Asiacell, he said. It was unclear if Asiacell's offices were the specific target.

"When the bomb exploded, all of our papers and chairs were thrown into the air and we were flung to the floor," said an Asiacell employee who did not want to give his name.

"Everybody wanted to run away from the building, but fire and smoke was blocking our way," he said, adding that two of his colleagues were killed in the blast and more than 10 wounded.

The man, in his 20s, himself suffered wounds to his head, his clothes were covered in blood and dirt, and his car was badly burned.

A medical official at Al-Yarmuk hospital in west Baghdad said it had received 10 dead bodies and treated 59 people -- including 11 women and two children.

Also on Sunday, a father and son were killed when a magnetic bomb was attached to their car in Ghazaliyah, west Baghdad, the interior ministry official said.

He added that three mortar rounds had been fired into the capital's heavily fortified Green Zone, home to many foreign embassies and government buildings, but said they had not caused any casualties or damage.

The overall death toll in Baghdad was the highest since August 17, when a suicide bomber killed 59 people when he blew himself up at a crowded army recruitment centre.

That same military complex was targeted two weeks ago, when six suicide bombers carried out a coordinated attack on it, killing 12 people.

Government figures suggest violence has risen in recent months as the US military has withdrawn thousands of its soldiers and Iraqi politicians have failed to reach agreement on a new government six months after an inconclusive general election.

July and August recorded two of the highest death tolls since 2008, according to figures released by Iraqi officials.

The latest bloodletting has sparked concern that local forces are not yet prepared to handle the country's security on their own, although American commanders insist their Iraqi comrades are up to the job.

But Iraq's top military officer has expressed doubt whether his soldiers will be ready when the last US troops are due to depart at the end of 2011. American forces should stay until 2020, Lieutenant General Babaker Zebari told AFP last month.

Source: AFP

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