US Defense Secretary Robert Gates called Wednesday's bombing in Iraq "horrifying" and accused al-Qaida of being behind the attack.
Speaking at a news conference, Gates said the attackers were trying to show that the US security plan for Baghdad is failing. He appeared with his Israeli counterpart, Amir Peretz.
Four large bombs exploded in mostly Shiite areas of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least 160 people and wounding scores.
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