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Suicide bomber, gunmen kill at least 152 in Iraq
September 14, 2005 11:03 IST
Last Updated: September 15, 2005 00:56 IST
More than a dozen explosions ripped through the Iraqi capital today, killing at least 152 people and wounding 542 in a dealy series of attacks that began with a huge suicide car bombing that targeted labourers assembled to find work for the day. Al-Qaida in Iraq claimed responsibility. The bloodiest attack was the first, killing at least 88 people and wounding 227 in the heavily Shiite Kazimiah neighbourhood where the day labourers had gathered shortly after dawn.
The bombings continued until about 4 PM. Overnight on Wednesday, 17 men were executed in a village north of Baghdad, taking the death toll in all violence in and around the capital today to 169 and the number continued to rise.
A senior American military official told the Associated Press he believed the rash of bombings was retaliation for the joint Iraqi-US sweep through the northern city of Tal Afar in recent days to evict insurgents from their stronghold near the Syrian border.
Al-Jazeera television quoted the al-Qaeda as confirming that assessment. At Baghdad's Kazimiyah Hospital, dozens of wounded men lay on stretchers and gurneys, their bandages and clothes soaked in blood.
Dr Qays Abdel-Wahab al-Bustani told AP Television News the hospital had received 75 wounded people and 47 others who were killed in the explosion. Al-Bustani said the wounded were in stable condition. In Kazimiyah's Oruba Square, twisted hulks of vehicles blocked the main street after the suicide attacker drove a small van into the midst of assembling labourers.
Gunmen wearing military uniforms, meanwhile, surrounded a Sunni village 15 kilometers north of Baghdad in the pre-dawn darkness and executed 17 men, police said. Taji police lieutenant Waleed al-Hayali said the gunmen had detained the victims after searching the village.
They were handcuffed, blindfolded and shot. The dead included one policeman and others who worked as drivers and construction workers for the US military, said al-Hayali. The violence, however, was concentrated in and around the capital, where days earlier Iraq's most feared terrorist group vowed to avenge a US and Iraqi offensive on militant strongholds in the north. Al-Qaida in Iraq today claimed responsibility for many of the attacks. US forces were the targets of at least three of the attacks.
In the most serious attack, an Amerian military convoy was tareted by a car bomb in eastern Baghdad, wounding two US soldies, the military said in a statement. Hours later, in the northern district of Azimiyah, gunmen opened fire on a police car, killing two top police officials and two officers.
Three Iraqi soldiers and four policemen died when a suicide car bomber struck as rescuers arived to help, said police Captain Nabil Abdul Kadir. Another car bomb exploded alongside an Iraqi National Gard convoy in the northern Baghdad district of Shula, killing at least two people, authorities said.
In central Baghdad, just a few hundred metres outside the northern border of the heavily fortified Green Zone, a suicide car bomber attacked a US convoy, police said
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