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Baghdad in military, political panic

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A bomb went off on Tuesday in Baghdad spreading fear in the Iraqi capital. (Source: CNN) A bomb went off on Tuesday in Baghdad spreading fear in the Iraqi capital. (Source: CNN)
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BAGHDAD (CNN) – Baghdad is now a city of closed shops, streets free of traffic where the ousted prime minister is holed up in the Green Zone and the rest of the political elite milling in a city bracing itself for further bombs.

Normal has been awful in Baghdad for so long when they say it's worse than ever, pay attention. 

We heard the bomb that went off on Tuesday.

A survivor filmed the immediate panic afterward.

Just down the road is the family home of Prime Minister Designate Haidar al-Abadi.

Whether he was the target mattered little to the people.

Hours later, residents were furiously demolishing the checkpoint of the police who did not protect them.

Shots were fired in the air to scatter them.

The next day police were there in force, refusing to be filmed.

Making life even tougher to live, or for young Ahmed to remember any other way of life.

“No,” he says. “I don't remember a time when there were no bombs. I don't go out onto the streets because I'm afraid.”

Business as unusual for Baghdad. Shops closed, and traffic jams missing.

During the normal rush hour it would be almost impossible for cars to move at a roundabout but in parts of Baghdad people seem unwilling to venture out onto the street. The city now braced for the worst.

Shuttered, locked, amid a paralyzed government and advancing extremists. Some saying it has never been so bad.

“Now, right now, 2014, is the worst year yet for Baghdad. This street is literally empty - where are the army and police?” one man asks.

Down the road, water pipes, hipster haircuts, things ISIS militants would immediately punish, brutally.

And the recognition that the political elite's failure to organize itself, is playing into ISIS hands.

“When the old prime minister won't hand over power to the new, ISIS can exploit that and enter Baghdad,” a man says. ISIS won't get into Baghdad, another man proclaims. But he's increasingly alone in what was once a crowded street.

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