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(New York) - Devastating bomb attacks in Baghdad on October 25, 2009,  were an assault on the fundamental principle of respect for life, and Iraqi authorities have a duty to ensure that anyone found to have contributed to their execution is apprehended and brought to justice, Human Rights Watch said today.

Two vehicle bombs, driven by suicide bombers, destroyed three major government buildings, killing more than 155 people, including 30 children, and wounding over 500, according to Iraqi government officials.

"No political goal or grievance can legitimize any such assault," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "This widespread and indiscriminate killing is reprehensible and morally indefensible."

Human Rights Watch also urged US forces to help protect civilians to the greatest extent permitted within the Status of Forces agreement between Iraq and the US.

At about 10:30 a.m. on October 25, the first of two blasts destroyed the Ministry of Justice, including its day care center, and ravaged the nearby Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works. Seconds later, the second blast heavily damaged the Baghdad Provincial Council.

The attack was Iraq's deadliest in more than two years. No one has claimed responsibility for the latest bombings. Iraqi officials have accused both the militant group al Qaeda of Mesopotamia as well as remnants of the Baath party, the Sunni-led party of Saddam Hussein, for the bombing. Massive car bombs have been the hallmark of Sunni Arab insurgents.

The attack had similarities to a pair of coordinated bombings on August 19 that targeted the Foreign and Finance Ministry buildings in Baghdad, killing nearly 100 people and wounding more than 600.

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