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Bombings in Baghdad, Mosul Kill 8; Many Wounded


The attacks occurred near the Iranian Embassy, the Foreign Ministry and the Immigration Ministry.

Iraq police say three blasts in Baghdad have killed four people and wounded 14 others. The explosions came as politicians continue to wrangle over who was responsible for the last wave of bombings, exactly one week ago.

The explosions struck the heart of the Iraqi government's nerve center, near the heavily fortified Green Zone.

Baghdad's security chief, General Qassem Mohammed Atta, described what took place.

He says three explosive devices hidden in civilian vehicles blew up in parking lots in the Karrada District, near Baghdad's Green Zone. He says that a fourth explosive device, hidden in a parked vehicle near the Iranian Embassy, was found and disabled.

An old woman dressed in black and spattered with blood sat on the ground screaming, as burned out vehicles, some still smoking, lined the parking lot behind her. Sirens wailed and security forces fired into the air, adding to the sense of chaos.

The explosions were in the immediate vicinity of Iraq's Foreign Ministry building, which is covered by a gigantic Iraqi flag on one side as repairs continue on the structure that was gutted by a massive car-bomb explosion on August 16.

Mortar attacks and assassination attempts against several Iraqi politicians were also reported, elsewhere in Baghdad.

Three midday blasts also rocked the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing and wounding several dozen people.

Tahsin al-Sheikhly, who belongs to Iraq's security commission, said security is still not back to normal after the last week's series of explosions, and his commission has sent its report to parliament.

He says the atmosphere inside the security forces is not normal, either, and says the commission report proposes what parliament should examine and what needs to be done, so these explosions do not happen again.

Parliament member Wa'el Abdel Latif, who is an independent Shi'ite lawmaker, says the prime minister had "done nothing since last Tuesday's bloody explosions" and that Iraq's security forces are a "complete failure."

Iraqi lawmakers have questioned officials about security lapses in the capital, where there have been three massive attacks since the beginning of August.

U.S. commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, has warned of a new wave of violence before parliamentary elections set for March 7. He also indicated he could request a slow-down in the pace of U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq if the situation were to warrant it.