Iraq: Interior Ministry targeted in car bombing

A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb outside of the Forsenics Lab of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior’s Criminal Investigation Department on Jan. 26, killing 21 people and injuring at least 80 others. The building collapsed shortly after the attack, which comes one day after coordinated deadly attacks against several Baghdad hotels frequented by westerners left 36 dead. Some have suggested that the attacks might be in retaliation for the previous day’s execution of “Chemical Ali” Hassan al-Majid. The bombing has also aroused concerns about Iraq’s ability to ensure citizens’ safety in the run-up to the general election scheduled for next month. Iraq’s election legislation was just amended in December following a political impasse, causing the election to be pushed back from Jan. 31 to Feb. 27.

This is not the first time Iraqi ministries have been targeted by suicide bombers. Earlier this month, an Iraqi court sentenced 11 men to death for the Aug. 19 bombing of the foreign and finance ministries in Baghdad that left close to 100 dead. Iraq is also seeking an investigation into the twin suicide bombings in Baghdad in October that killed at least 132 people. The bombings targeted the ministry of justice and the headquarters of the local provincial government ahead of an attempt by the Iraqi parliament to resolve a political stalemate to permit changes to the country’s election law. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari renewed calls in October for a formal UN inquiry to investigate those responsible for the bombings. Zebari asked the UN General Assembly and the Security Council to appoint a special envoy to probe possible sources that are targeting the country’s stability. (Jurist, CCTV, Jan. 26)

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