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Iraqi Authorities Hunt for Clues After Baghdad Bombings

Insurgent attacks in the Iraqi capital killed at least 95 people Wednesday. A Christian Science Monitor journalist provides an update from Baghdad.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    A string of attacks across Baghdad killed at least 95 people today and wounded more than 500. They targeted the heart of Iraq's government, striking the foreign and finance ministries. It was the bloodiest day in the capital city since U.S. troops withdrew from Iraqi cities at the end of June.

    Our lead story report comes from Jane Arraf of the Christian Science Monitor and GlobalPost. Ray Suarez talked to her this evening from Baghdad.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Jane Arraf, welcome to the program. You were in the part of Baghdad targeted by these attacks. Tell us what you saw.

  • JANE ARRAF:

    Well, it was mostly what I heard, first of all. I was going to the U.N., which was commemorating the sixth anniversary of the bombing of U.N. headquarters, when there was a huge explosion, which turned out to be a mortar, landing fairly close to the U.N. building.

    And then the blast, this huge blast that was part of a wave of explosions that rocked Baghdad in what really is the biggest security challenge, perhaps, to the Iraqi government in some time, and certainly a challenge to Iraqi security forces' ability to secure the city.

    Now, the biggest one was outside the Foreign Ministry, where a truck packed with an estimated ton of explosives detonated. There was another bomb shortly after near the Finance Ministry that collapsed part of an overpass.

    Now, these are some of the most heavily defended buildings in Baghdad. Iraqi authorities say that they confiscated a third truck packed with explosives and showed that on television, big, red plastic barrels filled with explosive material.

    All in all, it's seen as a test, and a test that Iraqi security forces have failed today.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Who is the Iraqi government blaming for this explosion? Who would have an interest in committing this kind of crime?