NPR logo Explosion Rips Through Iraqi Parliament Building


Explosion Rips Through Iraqi Parliament Building

An explosion inside the Iraqi parliament building in Baghdad on Thursday killed at least eight people, including three members of parliament, and wounded a number of others.

The explosion ripped through a cafeteria on the second floor of the Baghdad Convention Center, where Iraqi lawmakers both eat and hold meetings when parliament is in session.

The attack represented a major security breach. The building is well inside the heavily fortified Green Zone. To reach it, one must travel through a series of checkpoints and searches, some of which include bomb-sniffing dogs. Its unknown how the explosives made it through security and into the parliament building.

One of the dead lawmakers was Mohammed Awad, a member of the Sunni National Dialogue Front, according to a leader of the party.

A spokesman for the United States Embassy in Baghdad said no Americans were hurt in the blast.

An Iraqi police official said the explosion occurred when a man wearing a suicide belt and carrying a suitcase blew himself up in the convention center cafeteria. U.S. forces took control of the area afterward, the official said. The security check points are normally manned by a group of Georgian soldiers, private security guards and Iraqi police.

It was the city's second major attack of the day. Earlier, a massive truck bomb destroyed part of a bridge in northern Baghdad, collapsing the steel structure and sending cars tumbling into the Tigris River, police and witnesses said. At least 10 people were killed. It was the first time such a structure was destroyed by insurgent or militia attacks.

Thursday's attacks occurred during a two-month-old effort to improve security in Iraq's capital.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.