Reuters news agency quoted police sources who confirmed that 36 people were killed, and at least 71 injured in three simultaneous explosions that rocked the center of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in an area that includes a number of big hotels near the heavily fortified Green Zone.
The three explosions, which security sources said were carried out by car bombs, came minutes apart with the first occurring around 15:30 in the afternoon (12:30 GMT). An extremely massive reverberation was heard and clouds of dust and smoke were able to be seen in the sky.
The explosions were carried out at the peak of rush hour when employees are leaving their offices and when the streets are packed with cars and people.
The first explosion was located in Hayy Abu Nawwas near the Palestine and Sheraton hotels, and the other explosions were located at the Babil and Hamra’ hotels that are frequented by foreign journalists.
The images broadcast live from the scene by local television stations of the location of the explosion showed the cement blast walls collapsed on the ground and many cars completely destroyed.
These explosions come two months before the parliamentary elections despite the strengthening of security procedures in Baghdad after the explosions last August that were named “Black Wednesday” or “Bloody Wednesday”.
106 were killed and 600 wounded in a massive explosion aimed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance last August 19th.
Another 153 were killed and 500 wounded on October 25th in two explosions targeting the Ministry of Justice and the Baghdad Governor’s Office.
Most recently, on December 8th, 127 were killed and 448 were wounded in five successive explosions.