Two women wearing remotely controlled bomb vests carried out nearly simultaneous attacks on Friday in separate market areas of Baghdad, killing at least 72 people and wounding some 100 others in the deadliest attacks in the city since last year's surge in U.S. troop levels.
At least 45 people were killed in an attack at Baghdad's main pet bazaar when explosives under the bomber's traditional black Islamic robe were set off. The second attack, minutes later, was also carried out by a woman and killed as many as 27 people at a bird market in a predominantly Shiite section of the city's southeast.
According to the chief Iraqi military spokesman in Baghdad, the women apparently had Down's syndrome and may not have understood what they were doing. Brig. Qassem Ata al-Moussawi said at least one of the two women frequented the area where the attack took place and was known to be "mentally disabled." He said both bombs were remotely detonated.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the use of mentally retarded women as suicide bombers proves al-Qaida is "the most brutal and bankrupt of movements" and will strengthen Iraqi resolve to reject terrorism.