In the deadliest attack in Iraq this year, and the most audacious one in the capital for a long time, mortar fire and car bombs were directed towards the main centres of power. Among the targets were the ministries of finance, foreign affairs, health and housing, as well as the Parliament building and the Cabinet building.

Also hit was a checkpoint on the approach roads to the fortified Green Zone. The largest explosion was across the street from the Foreign Ministry and is said to have killed 59 people. The combined total of dead and wounded is said to be 350…

Violence had been on the rise in the last few weeks with several attacks in the outskirts of Baghdad and in the north of the country. But today’s coordinated bombings took place in some of the best protected areas of the city. This is a major challenge to the government ahead of national elections in less than six months.