Skip to main content

Blasts, suicide bombers strike busy central Baghdad, killing at least 18

From Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Eighteen are dead after four blasts hit a high-traffic area in central Baghdad
  • In one blast, a suicide bomber detonated explosives inside the Justice Ministry building
  • Iraqi state TV: Gunmen stormed the building but were killed by Iraqi security forces
  • The blasts happened near the fortified area known as the Green Zone

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- Four massive explosions -- at least one set off by a suicide bomber -- rocked a busy area of Baghdad on Thursday. The blasts came in quick succession around 1 p.m. not far from the fortified area known as the Green Zone, where international and government employees work.

Black smoke filled the sky as fires raged for nearly two hours and frantic Iraqis shouted out for their loved ones. One woman screamed, "My son!"

At least 18 people were killed and 53 were wounded, police officials in Baghdad told CNN.

In one of the attacks, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vest inside the Justice Ministry building, Iraqi security officials told CNN.

Iraqi state television reported that three gunmen rushed into the building, but Iraqi forces killed them. Iraqi forces continued to search the building to make sure employees were safe, the government-run news outlet said.

It's unclear at this time how the bomber and gunmen were able to get to the Justice Ministry, considering there are multiple checkpoints and other security measures in place to help keep the high-traffic area secure.

A two-year college nearby was also damaged.

Three hours after the blasts, Iraqi military helicopters were still hovering over the Justice Ministry as the sounds of sirens wailed.

The attacks come as the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq war nears. The invasion began on March 20, 2003.

iReport Special: 10 years on, the war through your eyes

Read: A decade after Saddam Hussein, Iraq still struggles

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0432 GMT (1232 HKT)
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
It's a very big challenge but NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan thinks it can be done.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 0039 GMT (0839 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert explains how the most recent ISIS video differs from the other previous hostage execution videos.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
A Syrian cleric condemns ISIS and its execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig.
November 16, 2014 -- Updated 1720 GMT (0120 HKT)
Volunteer fighters in eastern Ukraine dig down just 800 meters from the front line.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1729 GMT (0129 HKT)
TV anchor wears the same suit for a year. Female colleague wears new outfit daily. Who gets criticized?
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 1731 GMT (0131 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT