16 killed, 56 injured in Baghdad bombings

Baghdad, May 31: A spate of bombings in Baghdad on Thursday killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens more, shattering a relative calm with the Iraqi capital's deadliest violence in weeks. Roadside bombs and explosives-packed cars detonated across half-dozen neighbourhoods in the north, south and west of Baghdad, underlining persistent security concerns even as international energy companies met in the centre of the capital to bid on nationwide oil and gas exploration blocks.

Overall, 16 people were killed and at least 56 wounded in the attacks, an interior ministry official and two medical sources said. The deadliest attack struck the north Baghdad neighbourhood of Shuala, where a car bomb killed at least 13 people and wounded 32, medical officials said. A police first lieutenant in Shuala said the car was driven by a suicide attacker. The explosion badly damaged nearby shops, and windows in several adjacent buildings were shattered, sources said.

Emergency personnel were still at the scene more than an hour after the attack along with dozens of tearful residents. "I did not feel anything, but then suddenly I was thrown through the air and I hit a door," said a taxi driver who identified himself only as Abu Qarrar, or father of Qarrar. "I saw bodies, wounded people, people with body parts torn off," said the taxi driver, whose traditional Arab dishdasha robes were stained with blood. "I tried to help some people, and then the ambulances arrived, and now, they are cleaning the streets as if nothing has happened."

Signs of the attack littered the scene, from a yellow taxi being taken away for examination by police, with its driver's side seat and door covered in blood, to an unmarked civilian pick-up truck leaving the neighbourhood with a coffin loaded into its back.


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