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Suicide bombing leaves 33 dead in Iraq

Suicide bombing leaves 33 dead in Iraq

Two suicide bombings targeting U.S.-backed neighborhood patrols yesterday killed 33 people, highlighting the volatile situation north of Baghdad, where the U.S. military says al-Qaida gunmen are regrouping.
In the city of Baiji, Salahuddin province, a suicide bomber driving a vehicle rigged with explosives blew up at a checkpoint near a residential complex.
Iraqi army Major Shamil Mohammed and a senior provincial police official said 23 people were killed and 77 others wounded. The U.S. military and Interior Ministry in Baghdad earlier put the death toll at 20.
In the province of Diyala north of Baghdad, a suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives struck a funeral in the city of Baquba, killing 10 people and wounding five, the U.S. military said. Iraqi police said the blast wounded 21 people and said all casualties were members of the neighborhood patrols.
Police said the funeral was for a father and a son who had worked as armed volunteers with the U.S. military. They had been killed hours earlier in a shootout with U.S. forces. The U.S. military said its troops had killed two "armed individuals," one a patrol member, but was not certain whether that incident was linked to the funeral.
Neighborhood patrols, which are mainly Sunni and include many former insurgents, have been credited by the U.S. military with helping to reduce violence in Iraq. But they have increasingly come under attack by al-Qaida militants.
A Reuters photographer in Baiji said the bomber hit a checkpoint on a road leading to a residential compound housing employees of the Northern Oil Company. There were conflicting accounts whether the bomber was driving a car or a truck.
The blast left a 2-1/2 meter-deep crater in the road, destroyed a guardhouse near the complex and smashed the windows and fronts of nearby apartment buildings. People were digging through the rubble looking for bodies, the photographer said.
Television footage showed wrecked cars and pools of blood on the road.


Updated : 2021-02-28 03:33 GMT+08:00