Suspected Sunni Muslim insurgents blew up five car bombs and fired mortars into Baghdad's largest Shiite district Thursday, killing at least 161 people and wounding more than 250. New York Times Baghdad Bureau Chief John Burns updates the story from Baghdad.
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Our Iraq story comes from John Burns, the Baghdad bureau chief of the New York Times. I talked with him earlier this evening.
John Burns, welcome. People have gotten used to seeing daily reports on the news of terrible death in Baghdad, but was this attack different in its coordination, in its lethality, and, if you'll excuse the expression, in its ambitions?
JOHN BURNS, Baghdad Bureau Chief, New York Times:
You know, it's difficult to make any calibration any longer of these things. We've seen this kind of vicious, determined, murderous attack so often, but what is different this time, I think, is the timing of it.
It comes at a really critical stage of this war, as you know. The time seems to be running out politically in the United States. The president is going to meet Mr. Maliki, the prime minister, in Oman on Tuesday. And this attack today, one of the worst, close to the worst, that has occurred in Baghdad in the three-and-a-half years of the war.
Of course, it simply reignites this cycle of attack and revenge, which now seems to be in the foreseeable future unstoppable.