Nightly News   |  October 25, 2009

Twin blasts kill dozens in Baghdad

Oct. 25: Powerful suicide car bombs blew up outside the Justice Ministry and city government offices, killing at least 136 people in the worst attack in more than two years. NBC’s George Lewis reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> you're welcome.

>>> now to iraq and the deadliest attack there in more than two years. twin car bombings in baghdad today killed 150 people and wounded around 600 rattling a country just months away from the cross roads of new elections. george lewis has our report.

>> reporter: this cell phone video captured the second blast. two automobiles filled with high explosives detonated by suicide bombers. security forces fired their weapons randomly. first responders began pulling bodies out of the rubble looking for those still alive. ambulances rushed the wounded to the nearest hospitals. the target, iraqi government buildings in what was thought to be a fairly secure area near the green zone that houses the u.s. embassy and the offices of iraqi prime ministeri al maliki . this man said this is a deliberate plan to target the political process. nobody is claiming responsibility for this attack, although it bears the likely trademark of sunni muslim insurgents who are trying to topple the government dominated by shiites.

>> this is hugely embarrassing to prime minister maliki . he's been taking down blast walls, opening roads to traffic near government installations, campaigning on enhanced security as his contribution.

>> reporter: prime minister maliki , who has staked his political reputation on the security issue, toured the damage as his office said the attacks were designed to stop elections scheduled for january. the government linked this incident to a similar attack on august 19th against the iraqi finance and foreign ministries , killing 95 people and wounding 536.

>> the u.s. draws down its troop strength, which will happen dramatically after the january elections. we can and should depart iraq . there will in my judgment be an outbreak of the civil war again.

>> reporter: president obama released a statements saying, these bombings serve no purpose other than the murder of innocent men, women and children , but the bombings make a statement of their own. that the insurgents in iraq have not gone away. george lewis , nbc news, london.

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