More than a dozen bombs struck Baghdad on Tuesday evening, killing almost 40 people and wounding 70 others in coordinated blasts two days after Al Qaeda-linked gunmen stormed a church in one of the deadliest attacks in a year.
Baghdad security spokesman Qassim Atta told state-run Iraqiya television that officials were considering imposing an immediate curfew on the city. Security forces added impromptu checkpoints. Minister of Health Salih al-Hasnawi said 36 people had been killed and 320 injured in the attacks.
“We don’t know what’s happening right now,” said an Interior Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “There are so many explosions and so many reports, we’re overwhelmed.” The bombings were spread among coffee shops and other targets, many in Shiite neighborhoods, over a one-hour period in the early evening.
Earlier on Tuesday, relatives of some of the 57 people killed when a team of gunmen stormed a Sunday evening mass demanded that the government improve security.
The victims included two young priests shot dead before Iraqi special forces stormed Our Lady of Salvation in an attempted rescue. Almost two-thirds of the parishioners at the church in central Baghdad were killed or wounded at the siege.
Sunday’s attack ended a lull in violence during a political deadlock blamed by many Iraqis for fueling the violence. Almost eight months after Iraqis went to the polls, there is still no new government in place.