Two suicide car bombers struck a crowded area outside a state-run bank on Sunday in Baghdad, killing nearly 30 people in the latest attack targeting a high-profile part of the capital.
The blast, which tore the glass facade off the three-story Trade Bank of Iraq building, leaving chairs and desks exposed, occurred shortly after 11 am (local time) as the area was packed with people at the start of the local work week.
Iraqi officials initially said the explosives-packed cars were parked a few hundred yards apart, but later said the attacks were staged by suicide bombers.
Security forces swarmed through the debris while cleanup crews used forklifts to move the charred wreckage of several vehicles destroyed by the blast.
The chairman of the Trade Bank of Iraq, which was established to facilitate international trade and reconstruction efforts after the 2003 US-led invasion, said five guards were among the dead and six others were wounded.
Hussein al-Uzri blamed insurgents trying to undermine Iraq's progress and promised they would fail.
"The work of building Iraq's economic strength ... goes on uninterrupted, as does the work of the bank, which will be open for business tomorrow," he said in a statement after today's attack.
Persistent bombings in Baghdad and surrounding areas have raised fears that insurgents are stepping up attacks in a bid to foment unrest by exploiting the political deadlock following inconclusive March 7 parliamentary elections.