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Two Iraqi cities rocked by deadly car bombs

©

Latest update : 2008-04-15

A suicide car bomb in Baquba, the capital city of Iraq's Diyala province, took over 35 lives. The attack came within hours of another car bombing in Ramadi, the capital of the western Anbar province, which claimed over a dozen lives.

 

BAGHDAD - A car bomb killed 40 people and wounded 70 others outside a government office in the Iraqi city of Baquba on Tuesday in one of the deadliest attacks in months, police said.

 

Police said they expected the death toll to rise because there were still charred bodies inside cars at the scene of the blast in the capital of Diyala province, north of Baghdad.

 

Police and a hospital source also said a suicide car bomb had killed 13 people and wounded 14 others in the Iraqi city of Ramadi. That bomb exploded outside a restaurant.

 

Diyala, a multi-ethnic region and one of the most volatile parts of Iraq, has been the scene of operations against al Qaeda by U.S. and Iraqi forces in recent months.

 

Suspicion seemed likely to fall on al Qaeda for the Baquba attack given its penchant for using car bombs.

 

The bomb exploded outside the office of the provincial government in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. Women and children were among the victims.

 

Medical sources said ambulances were struggling to get the wounded to hospitals because of the sheer number of victims.

 

The strike was a reminder of remaining instability in the north at a time when most attention is focused on fighting in the south and in Baghdad between security forces and the Shi'ite Mehdi Army.

 

Sunni Islamist al Qaeda militants have regrouped in provinces north of Baghdad such as Diyala after being pushed out of western Anbar province and the capital by a "surge" of U.S. forces in Iraq during the past year.

 

In Baghdad, police said six people were killed and 26 wounded in fresh fighting overnight in the Sadr City stronghold of the Mehdi Army militia of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in the capital's east.

 

The U.S. military said it killed at least 10 fighters in Sadr City.

 

Three fighters were killed in one gunbattle in the slum, before U.S. troops ordered airstrikes that killed another three, the military said in a statement. Spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Steven Stover said U.S. forces in a tank killed another four militants who attacked them in a separate engagement.

 

The Shi'ite slum has been the scene of fierce street battles over the past three weeks. The fighting has been more intense than at any time since the first half of 2007, thrusting the Iraq war back to centre stage in the U.S. presidential campaign.

 

A suicide attack and two car bombs killed 18 people in northern Iraq on Monday.

 

Among the dead from those attacks were 12 members of Iraq's Kurdish Peshmerga security force, who were in a truck near the Syrian border when a car bomb exploded as they passed by.  

Date created : 2008-04-15

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