The death toll from twin car bombings in Baghdad climbed to 160, with hundreds more wounded in the deadliest attack in the capital in more than two years, the Interior Ministry said Monday.
U.S. President Barack Obama called the attacks an attempt to derail progress in Iraq, and pledged to work closely with the country as it prepares for elections. Obama spoke with the prime minister and President Jalal Talabani to express his condolences and reiterate U.S. support. In August, more than 100 people were killed in a series of bombings that led to tightened security in Baghdad. Blast walls were installed across the city and checkpoints added. Two years earlier, three truck bombings had killed hundreds in Qahtaniya, in northern Iraq. Sunday’s attacks were the deadliest on Iraqi civilians since the blasts in August 2007. A day before the explosions Sunday, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, visited Iraq for the first time. During her trip, she made a condolence stop at the Foreign Ministry, one of six sites attacked this August. Iraqis are supposed to go to the polls January 16, but parliament has not passed key election legislation, putting the balloting in limbo. The president, prime minister and other top officials are scheduled to meet Monday to discuss the elections law and security concerns. CNN’s Jomana Karadsheh, Mohammed Jamjoom, and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.