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Car Bombs Kill at Least 22 in Iraq

"A woman came to me 10 minutes before the explosion and had tea," Zyara said. "After, I went near the scene to look for her, but I found nothing but her scarf on the ground full of blood."

The losses are counted not only in human lives. The blast undid the renovation of the Manhal restaurant in the al-Kuwait Hotel, a small enterprise unprotected by the type of towering blast walls that gird the Baghdad Hotel.

A foreign national is evacuated after a suicide bombing in Baghdad that targeted SUVs carrying employees of DynCorp, a Reston-based defense contractor. Six people were killed and 15 were injured in the attack. (Saurabh Das -- AP)

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Video: Two deadly car bombs exploded in Baghdad Monday morning. One occurred near the entrance of the so-called Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy and Iraqi government offices.

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"If the situation continues like this, I will not stay longer in Iraq," said Abdul Adhim Hussein, 44, an Egyptian who was working on the renovation. "If I build or renovate something, the next day it will be demolished by a car bomb.

"People try to rebuild their country, but the terrorists give them no chance."

William B. Taylor Jr., head of the new Iraqi Reconstruction Management Office, confirmed on Monday that insecurity has greatly retarded efforts to spend the $18.4 billion that Congress appropriated to rebuild the country.

For example, of 21 water treatment plants under construction in Iraq, Taylor said, one has been completed. Its official opening in a south Baghdad neighborhood last Thursday was devastated by two car bombings. Among the dead were 35 children, a wrenching toll that one Iraqi official said "pushes very hard at the limits of barbarity."

"I fear to go to school now," said Muhammed, the third-grader taking in the sight of body parts on Saadoun Street. "What if this happened to me on the way to school? What if my mother couldn't recognize me when I am laying on the ground? I'll be left alone on the street."

A couple of miles away, Dhia Abbas, 24, stood amid a flurry of activity in the emergency room at Yarmouk Hospital. His face was bloodied by shrapnel from the car bomb detonated near the National Guard post where he had reported for his first day of work. It was also his last, he said.

"This is it," said Abbas, who had worked in security for the government of deposed president Saddam Hussein. "I am never coming back to that place. I may starve, but I am not going back."

Not everyone, however, was dissuaded by the day's violence. Razaq Hadi, a postgraduate student at Baghdad University, was in a minibus on his way to school when the Saadoun Street blast killed the bus driver and two passengers. He felt the bus leap into the air, and escaped only by climbing out a window.

"I escaped death today," said Hadi, 36. "That means I have another chance in life.

"So does Iraq," he added with a smile. "It has another chance in life, and we will use it."

Special correspondents Khalid Saffar and Bassam Sebti contributed to this report.

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