BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – Thunderous explosions and dense black smoke swirled through central Baghdad on Monday when two car bombs tore through a crowded marketplace, setting off secondary blasts and killing at least 71 people, police said. Another bombing nearby killed at least nine.
The violence came on the first anniversary, according to the Muslim lunar calendar, of the bombing of the important Shiite Golden Dome shrine in Samarra, north of the capital. That attack by al-Qaida in Iraq militants set off the torrent of sectarian bloodletting that has turned Baghdad and much of central Iraq into a battleground.
A column of smoke hundreds of feet wide billowed 1,000 feet above the market near the east bank of the Tigris River and the Central Bank.
Ambulances and pickup trucks rushed many of the nearly 165 wounded to nearby al-Kindi hospital in the largely Shiite region that has been hit by a series of deadly bombings since Jan. 1.