Five car bombs exploded in Baghdad early Tuesday, killing more than 100 people in what appeared to be coordinated attacks by militants in response to the Iraqi government’s approval earlier this week of national elections.
The blasts continued the insurgents’ recent tactic of striking centers of government power. One of the bombs struck close to Iraq’s Labor Ministry in northeast Baghdad.
Three of the bombs exploded on the eastern side of Baghdad, and two on the city’s west side, including one close to the heavily fortified International Zone.
The blasts rattled buildings across the city, and palls of smoke rose over the Iraqi capital.
More than 100 people were reported dead and more than 159 wounded, according to Iraq’s Health and Interior ministries. Those figures were preliminary, and could rise.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The bombings ended a period of relative calm in Baghdad since October 25, when three blasts targeting government buildings killed at least 155 people.
On Sunday, Iraq’s parliament ended months of sectarian bickering and approved a law spelling out how national elections will be held. They are expected to take place around Feb. 27.
Senior U.S. military commanders have warned that political violence is likely to rise in advance of the elections.
Hammoudi is a McClatchy special correspondent.