Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Macron makes Time 100 as France revolts

Read more

THE DEBATE

Turkey's rush to the polls: Erdogan calls snap election to cement his power

Read more

THE POLITICAL BRIEF

France's Macron likens divisions within EU to 'civil war'

Read more

ENCORE!

Sting and Shaggy on making musical magic together

Read more

FOCUS

The citizens finding solutions to Lebanon's chronic waste crisis

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Head of UN entity probing war crimes in Syria speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

The future of work: How the gig economy is changing the jobs market

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

'France has underinvested in early childhood education for many years'

Read more

IN THE PRESS

'Badass': Accolades pour in for Southwest pilot who landed plane after engine failure

Read more

Middle east

Dozens killed in Iraqi bomb blasts

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-07-03

At least 40 people have been killed by a truck bomb in southern Iraq on Tuesday, only hours after simultaneous car bombs killed at least four others, security officials said, amid a recent spike in nationwide violence.

REUTERS - A bomb in a small truck exploded in a market in the Iraqi city of Diwaniya on Tuesday, killing 40 people, and a bomb blast killed four more near the city of Kerbala, police and officials said - the latest in a series of sectarian attacks.

The Diwaniya bombing was near a Shi'ite mosque where pilgrims gather on their way to Kerbala to celebrate the birthday of one of the most important imams, al-Mahdi, this week.

In Diwaniya, 150 km (93 miles) south of Baghdad and 130 kms south east of Kerbala, police announced a partial curfew and blocked all entrances to the city as they searched for more explosives. Two police sources said 75 people had been wounded.

Attacks have increased in Iraq in recent weeks, raising fears that the country may slip back into widespread violence between Iraqi Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims.

"All of a sudden the explosion happened, I felt the power of the blast, it was so strong, it broke all the glass in my windows," butcher Ahmed Hassan, 23, said in his shop close to where the explosion took place.

"I smelled blood and gunpowder."

He said a fellow shopkeeper had been taking dead bodies to the hospital morgue.

"We even saw body parts on the top of building, we took them down," said Hassan, looking pale and confused as he swept glass from his shop floor.

Spike in violence

Shoes, toys and vegetables were scattered across the ground and at least 15 shops were destroyed, a Reuters reporter at the scene in Diwaniya said. Two burnt-out vehicles were abandoned near the site of the explosion. Witnesses said the bomb appeared to have been planted in a delivery truck.

Earlier in the day, two bombs in a vegetable wholesale market killed four people and wounded 29 near the central Iraqi city of Kerbala, hospital and police sources said.

"The bomb happened because of sticky bombs attached to two parked cars which went off separately," said Hussein Shadhan, a provincial council member, who was at the hospital.

"Four of the wounded people are seriously injured and their medical situation is very critical," he said.

Reuters pictures showed pulvervised tomatoes and bits of salad covering the blackened market floor. People picked their way through twisted pieces of metal and broken wooden crates.

Hospital and police sources said earlier they believed the attack had also been targeting Shi'ite pilgrims on their way to Kerbala.

Last month at least 237 people were killed and 603 wounded mainly in bomb attacks, according to a Reuters tally, making June one of the bloodiest months in Iraq since U.S. troops withdrew at the end of last year.

The deadliest attack occurred on June 13 when bombers targeting Shi'ite pilgrims killed more than 70 people.

Sunni insurgents often attack Shi'ite targets to try to reignite sectarian violence that killed tens of thousands of people in 2006-2007. Iraq's al Qaeda wing has claimed some of the recent bombings against Shi'ites.

Date created : 2012-07-03

  • IRAQ

    Deadly blasts mark nine years since start of Iraq war

    Read more

  • IRAQ

    Deadly series of attacks strikes targets across Iraq

    Read more

  • IRAQ

    Shiite pilgrims killed in new attacks across Iraq

    Read more

COMMENT(S)