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Four bombings rock Baghdad

Attacks paralyze government buildings ahead of crucial elections.

Inside, U.S. explosive experts worked with their Iraqi counterparts to gather evidence to run through U.S. and Iraqi labs.

The Iraqi government immediately blamed Al Qaeda in Iraq and Saddam regime loyalists for the attacks. At the bomb site and in the streets though, Iraqis said they believed it was the work of politicians, trying to weaken the chances of competing parties before the elections. Iraqi officials announced Tuesday that elections would be held in March. In parliament, lawmakers demanded that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and senior security officials appear to explain how the bombings had happened.

The court house was immediately adjacent to Baghdad’s Fine Arts Academy, where shattering glass wounded more than 20 students and teachers.

On the main road through Mansour, near an amusement park Ferris wheel that continued to turn, high school student Omar Saleh had just been to the academy looking for his cousin, Taysin.

“I’ve been calling her for hours but there’s no reply,” he said.

Two other theater students in the building at the time of the blast said they were planning to go back to school the next day if it was open because they needed to rehearse for a play.

Rami Hussein was directing a modern adaptation of the ancient tale of Gilgamesh, a legendary ruler.

“We are waiting for Gilgamesh,” said the producer Adel al-Shami.