BAGHDAD: A series of car bombs has exploded in two Iraqi cities killing at least eight people, police say. In central Baghdad three bombs killed at least four people and wounded 14 outside the heavily fortified Green Zone. That attack was followed by another co-ordinated car bombing in the northern city of Mosul where four people were killed and 40 injured. Analysts say al-Qaeda is trying to destabilise Iraq ahead of March polls.
The blasts in Baghdad occurred near the Iranian embassy, the foreign ministry and the immigration ministry, reports say. In Mosul two Syrian Orthodox Christian churches and a church school were attacked. The Al Beshara (Annunciation) Syrian Catholic Church in Mosul was the first to be targeted at 10.30am on he 15th of December when a bomb was placed against an outside wall of the building. A minor explosion took place with damage to the wall. Nobody was hurt. Youngsters at a nearby kindergarten had a lucky escape.
Within a few hours, a second, much bigger bomb had gone off at the Al Gahera (Our Lady of Purity) Syrian Orthodox Church. A number of people were injured in the explosion which caused major damage to the church in the crowded Al Shefaa district in the city centre. The blasts come a week after at least 127 people were killed in multiple car bombings in Baghdad. The latest attacks struck days after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki blamed opposition rivalry for security lapses.