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Middle east

Scores killed in twin car bomb attacks

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-03

Two car bombs exploded near a crowded market in the southern Iraq city of Kut on Tuesday, killing at least 30 people and wounding 80 others, local rescue officials said. The attack came hours after insurgents shot dead five policemen in Baghdad.

AFP - Twin car bombs in south Iraq killed 30 people Tuesday while Al-Qaeda fighters shot dead five policemen in Baghdad and planted their flag, a day after the US pledged no delays to its withdrawal timetable.

The violence also comes amid a deadlock over the formation of a new government nearly five months on from parliamentary elections, amid concerns that Iraq's security may be deteriorating after officials said more people died in violence in July than in any month since May 2008

Overall, 39 people were killed in violence across Iraq on Tuesday, officials said.

"We have so far received 30 corpses and 80 people have been wounded," the head of the emergency services at Kut hospital said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Two cars, parked 10 metres (yards) from each other, exploded at the same time at Al-Amel crossing," police Lieutenant Ismail Hussein told AFP, referring to the commercial centre of Kut, 160 kilometres (100 miles) south of Baghdad and capital of Wasit province.

An AFP correspondent at the scene said the streets were covered in blood while several shops were badly damaged and multiple cars destroyed.

"It was around 6:00 pm (1500 GMT) when the two cars exploded one after the other in the middle of a crowd," said Nasir Salman, 47, whose nearby tyre shop was badly damaged in the attacks.

"I saw with my own eyes, women and children lying dead and wounded on the ground."

Haidar Habib, a 40-year-old currency trader, said he was "thrown to the floor of my shop from the force of the explosions. I saw women and children on the streets losing their blood."

In Baghdad, meanwhile, nine security force members were killed.

Early Tuesday morning, Al-Qaeda fighters with silenced pistols "shot dead five policemen at a checkpoint in Mansur neighbourhood before planting the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI)," an interior ministry official said, referring to the name for Al-Qaeda's front group here.

He added that a traffic policeman was killed by a homemade bomb while a statement from Baghdad security forces said a soldier was killed by a second bomb and two other troops perished when they tried to disarm a third device.

The flag-planting incident was the second such act in less than a week.

The shootings and bomb deaths follow a brazen series of attacks in the Iraqi capital on Thursday that killed 16 people, after which insurgents also hoisted the Al-Qaeda front group's black flag.

Tuesday's violence came a day after President Barack Obama pledged that the United States would end its combat mission in Iraq at the end of this month, leaving 50,000 troops in the country from the current figure of around 65,000.

On Saturday, Iraqi figures compiled by the ministries of health, interior and defence showed 535 people were killed by violence in July, the highest monthly figure in more than two years.

The US military, however, has disputed those figures, saying they were "grossly overstated."


Date created : 2010-08-03

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