January 25, 2010
BAGHDAD – Three large car bombs rocked well-known Baghdad hotels on Monday, killing at least 36 people and ending a 1-1/2-month lull in coordinated assaults on the Iraqi capital as the country heads into a March election.
[efoods]Police said at least 71 people were wounded in the separate suicide car bombings, which went off within minutes of one another. Some of the casualties were police. Health Ministry data showed a lower figure for the death toll.
The first blast occurred near an entrance of the Ishtar Sheraton hotel, a Baghdad landmark on the eastern side of the Tigris River. The shock wave blew open doors, shattered windows and sent thick dust swirling into the Reuters offices nearby.
A giant mushroom cloud of debris rose from the blast site as ambulances and fire trucks rushed to the scene. Helicopters buzzed overhead and soldiers blocked off entry.