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Iraq: 60 killed in three blasts
September 30, 2005 02:15 IST
Three suicide attackers detonated car bombs nearly simultaneously in a mainly Shiite town north of Baghdad Thursday, killing at least 60 people and wounding 70 others, a hospital official said. Five United States soldiers were killed in a blast in a western town, the military announced.
The car bombs occurred just before sunset, around 6:45 pm hitting a bank, a vegetable market and another location in downtown Balad, 80 km north of the capital, witnesses said.
Dr Khaled al-Azawi of Balad Hospital said at least 60 people were killed, and 70 were wounded, including the town's police chief Col Kadhim Abdul Razzaq, and four other policemen.
The five soldiers were killed a day earlier in Ramadi, a hotbed of insurgent activity 100 km west of Baghdad, a Marine statement said. They were conducting combat operations when a roadside bomb hit them -- the deadliest single attack on US forces since a roadside bomb killed 14 Marines in the town of Haditha on August 3.
Violence has escalated in the leadup to a crucial October 15 referendum on a new constitution that has opened sharp divisions between the country's Shiites and Sunnis.
More than 140 people -- including 13 US service members -- have been killed in the past four days.
The Ramadi blast brought to 1,934 the number of US service members who have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.