The Iraqi capital was rocked late Tuesday, Nov. 2 by the most ferocious assault al Qaeda has ever carried out on a capital city. By evening, it had spread to Baghdad's environs after the death toll had climbed past 120 with more than 300 injured from 19 bomb car explosions in a dozen Shiite suburbs. Clearly visible in each was a pair of suicides detonating their explosives. Scores of roadside and sticky bombs were activated against cars at main intersections and smashed into army, police and emergency teams racing to the scenes of disaster.
The rattle of heavy automatic gunfire accompanied the sounds of explosions. Huge fires broke out amid the violence. Iraqi army commanders admitted the city had veered out of control and voiced fear that it was just the beginning of a broader al Qaeda onslaught which had already begun spreading.
As the public medical system collapsed, the army parked tanks and APCs on the bridges of the Tigris River which cuts through Baghdad.
Interim Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki turned down police request to impose a curfew on the city until control was restored. He agreed only to rush two or three Iraqi armored brigades to Baghdad as reinforcements.