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Iraq Interior Ministry targeted in car bombing

[JURIST] A suicide bomber detonated a car bomb outside of the Forsenics Lab of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior's Criminal Investigation Department on Tuesday, killing 21 people and injuring at least 80 others. The building collapsed [Al Jazeera report] shortly after the attack, which comes one day after a wave of attacks [AP report] against several Baghdad hotels frequented by westerners. Some have suggested that the attacks might be in retaliation for Monday's execution [JURIST report] of Ali Hassan al-Majid [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], better known as "Chemical Ali." Tuesday's bombing has also aroused concerns about Iraq's ability to ensure citizens' safety in the run-up to the general election scheduled for next month. Iraq's election legislation was just amended [JURIST report] in December, causing the election to be pushed back [Reuters report] from January 31 to February 27.

This is not the first time Iraqi ministries have been targeted by suicide bombers. Earlier this month, an Iraqi court sentenced 11 men to death for the August 19 bombing of the foreign and finance ministries [BBC report] in Baghdad that left close to 100 dead. Iraq is also seeking an investigation into the twin suicide bombings [JURIST report] in Baghdad in October that killed at least 132 people. The bombings targeted the ministry of justice and the headquarters of the local provincial government ahead of an attempt by the Iraqi parliament [official website, in Arabic] to resolve a political stalemate to permit changes to the country's election law. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari [official profile] renewed calls [JURIST report] in October for a formal UN inquiry to investigate those responsible for the bombings. Zebari asked the UN General Assembly and the Security Council [official websites] to appoint a special envoy to probe possible sources that are targeting the country's stability.

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