Iraq: Deadly car bombs 'made inside' Green Zone

Baghdad, 26 October (Aki) - The twin car bombings which on Sunday killed over 150 people and injured 500 in the Iraqi capital Baghdad were made inside the heavily fortified Green Zone, Iraq's deputy interior minister Ahmad al-Khafaji told Adnkronos International (AKI).

"The two vehicles that exploded yesterday in the al-Salihiya area of Baghdad were made in a location right next to the blasts," al-Khafaji told AKI.

"This is why the devices were not detected at the police checkpoints," he added.

The blasts signalled a change of strategy by extremists in Iraq, al-Khafaji said. "They are planning big atttacks as they have realised that smaller-scale ones have no effect on Iraq's resolve to move forward and progress," he stated.

The co-ordinated attacks were carried out near the justice and local government ministries and the provincial government HQ, killing at least 155 people. They were Baghdad's bloodiest since April 2007.

In the attacks, suicide bombers detonated two vehicles, a lorry at a busy junction near the two ministries and a car in a parking bay.

US President Barack Obama branded the attacks "hateful and destructive".

"It seems the individuals who carried out the attacks had rented a house or commercial premises in a sidestreet of the area they intended to target and gradually sneaked in the bomb-making materials," said al-Khafaji.

American forces have been called in to aid a probe into the attacks. Iraq's prime minister Nouri al-Maliki has pledged that the perpetrators will be brought to justice.

"The investigation is underway and further details will be announced when it is completed," al-Khafaji said.

No group immediately claimed the bombings.

Sunday's attacks were planned outside Iraq, according to foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari. He said they bore similarities to the deadly 19 August blasts in Baghad which killed and injured hundreds of people. Iraq has blamed extremists hiding in neighbouring Syria for those attacks.

When Maliki visited the scene of the attacks on Sunday, he blamed Al-Qaeda and Baathist supporters of Iraq's late president Saddam Hussein.


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