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Twin Bombings Rock Central Baghdad, More Than 130 Killed


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Iraqi police say two car bombs have claimed the lives of more than 130 people in central Baghdad. More than 500 others have been wounded in the Sunday blasts.

The attackers struck just outside the Green Zone, the heavily fortified area that houses many government buildings.

Police say the first bombing hit the justice ministry. Minutes later, another massive car bomb exploded outside the provincial government headquarters.

Ambulances rushed to the scene. Private cars were also used to ferry the many wounded to hospitals.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

While violence in Iraq has dropped dramatically since the height of sectarian fighting, the attacks were the second major security breach in Baghdad - a city filled with checkpoints - in two months. Twin bombings in August struck another two government buildings, killing about 100 people.

Baghdad blamed Syria for harboring the suspects in that attack, a charge Damascus denies. The accusation and suspicions have caused a rift between the neighbors that has yet to be resolved.

Sunday's bombings occurred as Iraq's parliament tries to pass legislation needed to hold elections in January. Successful elections are considered a benchmark of Iraq's return to stability after six years of conflict.

A recurring theme among those planning to take part is unity across sectarian lines.

The U.S. military plans to withdraw many of its troops after the vote. Any delay could affect the U.S. timetable for leaving the country.