BAGHDAD -- Multiple explosions rocked Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least 32 people in a brazen reminder of the ability of insurgents to penetrate the heart of the Iraqi capital.
The attacks come as militants fighting in the name of Al Qaeda are battling for control of mainly Sunni Muslim areas to the west in a test of the Shiite-led government’s ability to maintain security in the country more than two years after the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
The deadliest of Wednesday’s attacks took place across the street from the high-rise building housing the Foreign Ministry, shattering the windows of nearby apartment buildings. Two parked car bombs went off simultaneously in different parking lots, killing at least 12 people, including three policemen, and wounding 22, a police officer said.
Shortly afterward, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a nearby falafel restaurant frequented by officials and visitors waiting for security escorts to take them inside the Green Zone, a walled-off area that houses the prime minister’s office and the U.S. and other foreign embassies.
Five people were killed and 12 wounded in that attack, the officer said.
Another parked car bomb exploded in Khilani Square, a busy commercial area in central Baghdad, killing five people and wounding 11, another police officer said. Smoke billowed from several stores and stalls as vendors hurriedly stuffed their goods into big bags and carried them away on their backs.
Shortly before sunset, a triple car bombing struck an outdoor market in the mainly Shiite suburb of Jisr Diyala, in southeastern Baghdad, killing nine people and wounding 24. Minutes later, a rocket landed near the western gate of the Green Zone, killing one passerby and wounding seven others, police said.
Medical officials confirmed the causality figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.