Two powerful car bombs exploded in downtown Baghdad today, killing at least 136 people and wounding nearly 600 in an apparent attempt to target the fragile city's government offices, Iraqi authorities said. The blasts went off less than a minute apart near two prominent government institutions—the Ministry of Justice and the headquarters of the Baghdad provincial administration's headquarters—during the morning rush hour.
At least 25 staff members of the Baghdad Provincial Council, which runs the city, were killed in the bombing, which was just a few hundred yards from Iraq's Foreign Ministry, which is still rebuilding after massive bombings in August killed about 100. The area is also just a few hundred yards from the Green Zone that houses the US Embassy as well as the prime minister's offices. The explosions also injured nearly 600 people.