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Iraq releases video of deadly blasts

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Video shows Iraqi bombings
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two blasts in Baghdad over the weekend killed more than 150 people
  • One video view shows cars traveling around a traffic circle before a huge blast
  • Another camera shows charred cars covered in debris from the other blast
  • Sunday's attacks were the deadliest on Iraqi civilians since August 2007
RELATED TOPICS
  • Al Qaeda in Iraq
  • Baghdad
  • Iraq War

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi officials on Tuesday released security camera video of two weekend bombings that killed at least 155 people -- the deadliest attacks in the capital in more than two years.

One video shows cars traveling around a traffic circle on Haifa Street in central Baghdad Sunday morning before a huge blast in front of the Justice Ministry. The impact shakes the camera and its view is obscured by clouds of smoke.

Another camera shows the dozens of charred cars covered in debris from the other blast, as two fires burn nearby.

Baghdad Gov. Salah Abdul Razzaq showed the videos at a news conference held under a blown-out ceiling at the second bombed building.

He also announced that the Baghdad provincial council on Tuesday voted for the resignation of the interior minister and the Baghdad commander -- the two men in charge of Iraqi security forces in the capital.

Razzaq said the attacks killed 155 people and wounded more than 500. Other officials had put the death toll at 160. The deaths include 20 children, two Interior Ministry officials said Tuesday. They said an earlier report that said 30 children packed on a minibus were among those killed was based on an erroneous police account.

Video: Outrage in Baghdad
Gallery: Deadly bombings rock Baghdad

The Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group for al Qaeda in Iraq, claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement released Tuesday. The authenticity of the claim could not be immediately verified, but it appeared on a Web site frequently used by the group.

Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abdul Aziz said he believes al Qaeda in Iraqwas behind the attack.

"In my personal estimate or assessment, what I can tell you, I can see the imprint of al Qaeda, which is the enemy of Iraq and the enemy of all humanity," Aziz said through a translator Tuesday.

The Islamic State of Iraq also claimed responsibility for nearly identical truck bombings that struck the Foreign and Finance ministries on August 19, killing at least 100 and wounding hundreds more.

One of the bombs Sunday exploded outside Baghdad's governorate building, the other outside the Justice Ministry. The bombs detonated in quick succession about 10:30 a.m., officials said.

See photos from the deadly explosions

Plumes of smoke billowed from the sites as victims fled, some with blood streaming down their faces. The streets were strewed with debris, including charred cars and chunks of concrete. Other government buildings in the area were heavily damaged.

The blasts sparked questions about Iraq's security and national elections planned for January.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who visited the scene shortly after the explosions, said holding the elections as scheduled would send a strong message to the attackers.

"The cowardly attack ... should not affect the determination of the Iraqi people from continuing their battle against the deposed regime and the gangs of criminal Baath party, and the terrorist al Qaeda organization,'" al-Maliki said in a written statement.

U.S. President Barack Obama called the attacks an attempt to derail progress in Iraq, and pledged to work closely with the country as it prepares for elections. Obama spoke with the prime minister and President Jalal Talabani to express his condolences and reiterate U.S. support.

The August attacks led to tightened security in Baghdad, including the addition of blast walls and security checkpoints.

Two years earlier, three truck bombings killed hundreds in Qahtaniya, in northern Iraq. Sunday's attacks were the deadliest on Iraqi civilians since those blasts in August 2007.

Iraqis are supposed to go to the polls in January, but passage of an election law is needed first. Late Monday, Iraqi leaders reached tentative agreement on a draft of such a law.

U.S. and Iraqi government officials say the election is a vital step in Iraqi efforts to solidify a democratic system in the post-Saddam Hussein era.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh, Mohammed Jamjoom, Saad Abedine and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report

 
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