BAGHDAD - A suicide car bomb flattened a court building and an explosives-rigged ambulance blew down walls like dominos near the Finance Ministry during a wave of coordinated attacks yesterday that targeted high-profile symbols of Iraqi authority, killing at least 127 people.
The blasts - at least five in total - marked the third major strike on government sites since August and brought uncomfortable questions for Iraqi leaders. These include signs that al Qaeda in Iraq is regrouping and concerns over the readiness of Iraqi forces to handle security alone as U.S. forces depart.
The bombings also brought swift accusations about the motives behind the attacks. Officials claimed a Sunni insurgent alliance, including members of Saddam Hussein's banned Baath Party, seeks to undermine the pro-Western government ahead of elections set for March 7 and the later withdrawal of U.S. combat forces.
Authorities also faced angry questions about how bombers again found holes in Iraqi security.
"If security falls apart, then everything will collapse," said Abbas al-Bayati, head of parliament's defense committee and an ally of the Shiite government, as lawmakers convened an emergency session.
Another lawmaker, Saadi al-Barazanji, shouted: "If I were the interior minister, I would resign!"
The attacks began with a suicide strike on a police patrol. An hour later, four more explosions rumbled across Baghdad in the span of a few minutes. Suicide car bombings hit three sites: the main Appeals Court, an area outside the Finance Ministry and a government compound that includes the Labor Ministry. A roadside bomb also went off near a university.