By Jane Arraf, CSM: 'An Interior Ministry official said that in addition to those killed, at least 80 people were injured in the blast, which took place near a checkpoint close to the forensics department on al-Tahariyat Square in the Karrada neighborhood. At least five of those killed and half of those wounded were police officers injured when part of the building collapsed, he said. The explosion also sent glass and pieces of metal flying through nearby cafes. It was the third time in two years that the directorate had been bombed, he said.
Following Monday’s suicide bombings of three major hotels in Baghdad, the attacks were widely seen as an escalating attempt to destablize the country ahead of key parliamentary elections in March.
The top US general in Iraq said that while there was no definitive proof, he believed Monday’s attacks were conducted by Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) – an organization whose leaders appear to be increasingly well-educated and increasingly Iraqi, he said.'