- Iraq - Iraq violence
Obama condemns Baghdad's deadliest suicide bombings in two years
President Barack Obama led US condemnation of twin suicide bombings that rocked central Baghdad Sunday, killing at least 99 people and wounding hundreds.
AFP - President Barack Obama led US condemnation of twin suicide bombings that rocked Baghdad Sunday, the deadliest in more than two years, saying they showed the attackers' "hateful and destructive" agenda.
At least 99 people were killed and more than 700 injured when two vehicle bombs blamed on Al-Qaeda exploded at the justice ministry and a provincial office in Baghdad.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decried the attacks as "despicable," while Obama's Republican rival in last year's presidential election, Senator John McCain, assured that the US timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq would not be affected.
"I strongly condemn these outrageous attacks on the Iraqi people, and send my deepest condolences to those who have lost loved ones," Obama said in a statement released by the White House.
"These bombings serve no purpose other than the murder of innocent men, women and children, and they only reveal the hateful and destructive agenda of those who would deny the Iraqi people the future that they deserve," he said.
In her statement condemning the slaughter, Clinton said: "These despicable terrorist attacks seek to undermine the impressive progress that Iraq has made towards stability and self-reliance.
"They will not succeed. They will not deter Iraqis from administering justice based on the rule of law and carrying out their legitimate responsibilities in governing Baghdad," she said, adding that Washington "will continue to support the people and government of Iraq in fighting terrorism."
Speaking on CBS television, McCain described the perpetrators as "extremists trying to ignite sectarian violence."
The Baghdad government has "got a ways to go" in being able to navigate security challenges in Iraq, McCain acknowledged, but he added that "it's not going to require any delay in withdrawal of US troops."
McCain, a US Navy aviator during the Vietnam war and a leading congressional voice on defense matters, warned that the attacks could continue in the near term.
"But they're not sustainable. The majority of the people are opposed to them," said McCain.
"The Iraqi military will be able to handle this transition," he added. "But it's not going to be without tragedies such as we've seen just today."