Suicide bombers in northern Iraq killed at least 50 people today (Sunday) with near-simultaneous attacks on the offices of two Iraqi Kurdish political parties.
The attacks in the city of Arbil wounded scores of other people, and officials say the death toll could rise.
The bombers targeted offices of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party. Reports from the scene say some prominent Kurdish officials may have died in the carnage.
The French Press Agency quotes an official from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan as blaming Islamic extremist terrorists for the attacks.
At the time of the blasts, the offices were filled with Kurdish Muslims celebrating the start of Eid al-Adha, an Islamic celebration known as the Feast of Sacrifice.
Witnesses said the attackers, wearing explosives strapped to their bodies, were not noticed by security guards, and that precautions were lax because of the holiday atmosphere in Arbil. The Kurdish city is located about 325 kilometers north of Baghdad.
In a separate incident, at least 20 Iraqis were killed today when a munitions depot in the desert south of Baghdad blew up shortly after midnight. Polish troops assigned to the U.S.-led coalition force in Iraq say the victims of the blast had entered the depot shortly before it exploded.
The blast is said to have occurred (180 kilometers) southwest from the city of Karbala.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, was visiting Iraq today to assess the security situation in the country.
Mr. Wolfowitz, one of the principal architects of the United States' Iraq war plans, arrived in Baghdad from Germany, where he visited U.S. soldiers about to be deployed to Iraq.
U.S. forces are involved in a major rotation of troops in Iraq -- an operation intended to reduce the American contingent in the country from 130-thousand to 105-thousand, while ensuring that military squads have increased firepower to quell guerrilla resistance.
Information for this report is provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.