BAGHDAD, Iraq — Two car bombs detonated in quick succession on Thursday evening near a crowded market in eastern Baghdad, killing at least 16 people and wounding 90 in one of the worst attacks in the capital in weeks.
The first car, parked on a street near a gas station in the Ameen district, exploded at about 5:40 p.m., Interior Ministry officials said. In a grimly familiar tactic, a second car bomb detonated outside a crowded market nearby about 10 minutes later, as police officers and emergency workers were flooding the area.
Most of the dead and wounded appear to have been civilians shopping for food or on their way home, the officials said.
The bombings came on a day of mayhem across Iraq, with fires raging on an oil pipeline in the north after an insurgent mortar attack. More than three dozen people were reported by U.S. and Iraqi officials to have died in violent incidents.
U.S. military officials also announced the deaths of five service members. Three were soldiers who died when a roadside bomb struck their vehicle south of Baghdad on Thursday. A fourth soldier was killed Wednesday after being struck by small arms fire in southwestern Baghdad, and a Marine was killed in combat on Wednesday near Fallujah.
Testimony continued Thursday in the trial of Saddam Hussein without any of the eight defendants present, after the chief judge barred them all from the courtroom for disruptive behavior. Saddam, who had apparently refused to attend the trial on Wednesday, watched the proceedings on closed-circuit television with some other defendants.
Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman adjourned the trial until Feb. 13, apparently seeking to bring the defendants — and possibly their lawyers, who walked out on Sunday — back into the courtroom. Iraqi police found the bullet-riddled bodies of 14 young men on Thursday in a ditch in eastern Baghdad, their hands bound, their eyes blindfolded. The men's identities could not yet be determined, Interior Ministry officials said. On Tuesday, 11 bodies were found in western Baghdad.