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Iraqi officials say the toll from Sunday's two powerful car bombs in central Baghdad has risen to 155 killed and more than 500 others wounded.  

The near-simultaneous attacks hit near the heavily-guarded Green zone and appeared to target a provincial government building and the Ministry of Justice.

The blasts caused heavy damage to the government buildings, demolished nearby cars and scattered body part across the streets.

Iraq's prime minister said the bombings were meant to create instability and stop Iraq from holding elections in January. Nouri al Maliki's office blamed al-Qaida and members of the Baathist party for the attacks, although no one has claimed responsibility.

Leaders of the U.S., U.N. and NATO all condemned the attacks as senseless acts of violence.

U.S. President Barack Obama called Mr. Maliki and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani to express his condolences and reiterate U.S. support for the Iraqis.  

Two months ago, attackers targeted Iraq's ministries of finance and foreign affairs.  Those truck bombs killed more than 100 people and wounded 500 others.  Al-Qaida claimed responsibility for those blasts.

Violence in Iraq has dropped significantly in the past year, but officials had already warned that attacks could rise ahead of the elections.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.