(BAGHDAD) — Two car bombings that happened within minutes of each other killed at least 21 people in central Baghdad on Tuesday.
Local Iraqi authorities said the explosions occurred in the Shiite-dominated district of Karrada. The assailants apparently wanted to maximize casualties since the attacks happened during the middle of afternoon rush hour.
Witnesses said they saw the first car bomb detonate outside a restaurant and bakery. As people rushed to help the victims, a second car blew up opposite a police precinct.
Five cops were killed by the second blast, while six passengers riding in a minibus also perished. At least 50 people were wounded by the twin bombings.
It appears that suicide bombers were involved in both attacks and suspicion immediately fell on al Qaeda, which has been vocal about launching a new offensive to take back areas of Iraq that it gave up while U.S. troops still occupied the country.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Michael Pearson, Faith Karimi and Ian Lee, CNN
Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN
Schams Elwazer, Mohammed Tawfeeq and Tim Hume, CNN
Steve Visser and Masoud Popalzai, CNN