BAGHDAD — Iraqi authorities said Monday that suicide bombers had used two large trucks — a water tanker and a refrigerated food truck — in attacks Sunday that killed at least 155 people and wounded nearly 600, the deadliest bombings since 2007.
Among the dead were 24 children leaving a day care center, according to local news reports. Two hundred Iraqis were reported missing after the explosives-filled trucks blew up a minute apart Sunday morning outside government ministries and the Baghdad city offices.
An Interior Ministry official, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because he isn't authorized to make public statements, said the water tanker was packed with C-4, plastic explosives, and the refrigerated truck contained TNT, a chemical compound widely used in bomb-making.
The Iraqi Defense Ministry said in a statement Monday that senior officials were reviewing the "security breach" that allowed the trucks to get so close to the government buildings. The statement said that initial results of the investigation would be released soon.
TV commentators, Iraqi newspapers and street-level talk of the bombings blamed the political wrangling ahead of January elections for the violence. Iraqi legislators are deadlocked over election law revisions, and the clock is ticking on whether the elections will take place on time, as called for in the Iraqi Constitution.
Sunday's violence was the latest omen that the polls might not go as smoothly as the Obama administration had hoped; a calm election season could help to hasten the full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.
"Who can pass a truck full of explosives through this part of Baghdad?" Ali Abdulatheem, 67, a third-generation basket weaver near the bombing site, said Monday.
"Does the government really believe it can be done by good luck? No. The government knows that the employees of the Interior Ministry are the most corrupt of all and can be easily bought. It's the curse of Iraqis: Their blood is cheap."
(Issa is a McClatchy special correspondent. Allam reported from Cairo, Egypt.)
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Read what McClatchy's Iraqi staff has to say at Inside Iraq