Baghdad: Two car bombs exploded near a busy shopping district in central Baghdad, killing 20 Iraqis and wounding many others, police officials said.
The blasts took place within 5 minutes, leaving two dark clouds of smoke billowing out over the main intersection of Karradah in entral Baghdad, which is a busy shopping destination and at the time of blast, the area was crowded with people heading home from work.
Police said the first car blew up near a restaurant at a Karradah square, and down the street from a police station and a security checkpoint. Six people were killed and 21 wounded.
Five minutes later, the second car blew up outside an Iraq passport office a few kilometers away, killing 14 and injuring 36. The attack also came about 400 meters from a major Interior Ministry headquarters.
The explosion comes as the violence in Iraq has seen a sudden surge since last month, increasing July`s death toll to 244.
Terror group seeks to take advantage of political instability in Iraq and move into areas it was forced out of before the US military left the country last December.
Security forces and government offices are top targets for insurgents seeking to prove how unsafe Iraq remains. Six policemen were among the killed, and another 16 were hurt in the blasts.
Police and health officials confirmed the casualties but spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.
Earlier this month, al Qaeda`s leader in Iraq threatened to push back into areas the group was driven out of after sectarian fighting peaked in 2007. A day after al Qaeda issued the threat, shootings and bombings killed 115 people in Iraq`s deadliest day in more than two years.
Most of the attacks that take place are directed against the Shi`ite Muslims of the country.
With Agency Inputs