Two suicide bombers killed and wounded scores of civilians today at two Baghdad markets, according to press reports. The two separate attacks were the deadliest in months and added a gruesome twist to terrorist tactics in Iraq: both suicide bombers were female and mentally impaired, their explosive vests detonated remotely by militants.
The blasts came shortly before the call to Friday prayers when many Iraqis were out shopping or meeting friends.
The first device was detonated by a female suicide bomber at around 1020 local time ... in the popular Ghazil animal market, killing at least 46 people and injuring a further 80.
A popular spectacle for Baghdadis, the animal market only opens on Fridays and regularly draws large crowds, despite having been targeted by bombers twice in 2007.
Just 20 minutes after the first explosion, a second bomb tore through another crowded market in the Jadida area of east Baghdad, killing at least 27 people and injuring 67.
The U.S. military, however, says that the women detonated the bombs themselves, CNN.com reports. Further, the U.S. military blames the attacks on al Qaeda in Iraq, and did not address the women's mental states.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reports suicide vests have become Iraqi terrorists' weapon of choice because they are easier to sneak past roadblocks and barriers than vehicle-borne bombs.
The Times quoted a local man who survived the Jadida market bombing. Locals had made repeated requests for authorities to erect concrete blast walls to protect the market, he said, but to no avail.