A minibus packed with explosives detonated in a crowded Baghdad square, killing at least 70 people and injuring more than 230 others. Most of the victims were poor day laborers waiting for work. From northern Iraq, VOA's Margaret Besheer has more.
The bomber struck at around 7:00 a.m. local time, in Tayaran Square where men wait for jobs as day laborers doing construction work, painting or cleaning.
Many of them were Shiites from poor areas of Baghdad, such the slums of Sadr City.
This witness says the minibus driver lured his victims with the promise of jobs. When they approached his vehicle it exploded.
He says the dead and injured were poor laborers who should be protected by the government.
Tayaran square was covered in bloody debris, and nearby shops and vehicles were also damaged.
Interior ministry officials said about 30 minutes after the minibus explosion another small bomb went off in the square, targeting police and other emergency responders. No additional casualties were reported.
In a statement, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called the bombing a "horrible massacre" and said terrorists are trying to spread chaos by killing and fueling sectarian strife.
Mr. Maliki, a Shiite, blamed the attack on Sunni Arabs - namely, Saddam Hussein loyalists and other extremists.
Sunni-Arab parliament speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, condemned the attack, saying it targeted poor people who were trying to feed their families.
Sectarian attacks have become a grim reality of daily life in Baghdad. On Monday, 46 men were found bound, blindfolded and executed, the apparent victims of sectarian death squads that roam the capital.