A man and a woman leave the area through thick dust following an explosion in the Iraqi parliament cafeteria within the Green Zone.
Two disastrous bomb attacks today in Baghdad left a total of 18 people dead.
At lunchtime, a bomb exploded in a cafeteria inside the Iraqi parliament building, killing eight people, including at least three lawmakers. Earlier, an enormous truck bomb exploded on a bridge in northern Baghdad, causing the roadway to collapse into the Tigris River. That explosion left at least 10 people dead.
To many in the capital, the two attacks show that, despite the security crackdown, insurgents are still able to mount deadly attacks almost anywhere. The bombing at the parliament was the most serious attack yet inside the highly fortified Green Zone of Baghdad.
Late this evening, the spokesman for the U.S. Command in Iraq, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, said eight people died in the explosion, and 23 more were injured. The explosion resulted from a suicide bomber detonating an explosive vest. Security forces immediately sealed off the Green Zone, and no one was permitted in or out, as American Apache attack helicopters patrolled the skies above the area.
It is not known whether the two attacks today were coordinated. But symbolically, they represent a dramatic challenge to the recent U.S.-led effort to bring security to Baghdad.
The new security crackdown began two months ago, and U.S. commanders say the number of civilians killed in Baghdad has declined in the past month. But when insurgents can destroy key infrastructure and penetrate the most protected zone in Iraq, it's doubtful many residents of the capital will feel any safer.