Blasts kill at least 62 across Baghdad

Wednesday, November 3, 2010
An Iraqi Army soldier stands next to wreckage from a car bomb in the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. Rapid-fire bombings and mortar strikes in mostly Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad killed and wounded scores on Tuesday, calling into question the ability of Iraqi security forces to protect the capital. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

BAGHDAD -- Rapid-fire bombings and mortar strikes killed 62 people and wounded 180 across Baghdad's mostly Shiite neighborhoods Tuesday night, calling into question the ability of Iraqi security forces to protect the capital.

The blasts came just two days after gunmen in Baghdad held a Christian congregation hostage in a siege that ended with 58 people dead.

The bombings began about 6:15 p.m. and took place in at least 10 neighborhoods, involving booby-trapped cars, roadside bombs and mortar strikes. The attacks appeared directed mostly at the city's majority Shiite population, though some blasts occurred in Sunni neighborhoods as well.

The most deadly blast happened when a parked car bomb exploded near a popular market in the Sadr City slum in eastern Baghdad, home to roughly 2 million Shiites. That attack killed 15 people and wounded 23.

The casualty information all came from police and hospital officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Earlier Tuesday, hundreds of grieving Christians and other Iraqis packed a funeral service for members of the faith killed in the militant siege on a Baghdad church. The attack, which an al-Qaida-linked group claimed it carried out, left 58 people dead and dozens wounded.

The complex attack carried out Sunday evening on parishioners celebrating Mass at the Our Lady of Salvation church in an affluent Baghdad neighborhood emphasized the ease with which militants can still strike in Iraq and the particularly dangerous position that the country's Christians occupy among Iraq's sectarian structure.

Iraq's top Catholic prelate, Chaldean Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, urged the government to protect the nation's Christian community and not let their promises just be ink on paper.

"We are gathered here in this sacred house to say farewell to our brothers who were just the day before yesterday exclaiming love and peace," Delly told a weeping congregation at the Chaldean St. Joseph Church in central Baghdad. "Now fate has decided that they will leave us."

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