Middle East

Car bombing in Baghdad market kills 25

Updated: 2007-05-22 22:33
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BAGHDAD - A parked car bomb ripped through a crowded outdoor market Tuesday in southwestern Baghdad, killing 25 people despite a three-month-old security crackdown meant to reduce violence in the capital.

At least 60 people were wounded in the blast in the Shiite-dominated neighborhood of Amil. Nearby buildings were badly damaged and set ablaze, while others were reduced to rubble. Residents ran through the streets with buckets and pots of water, while others frantically tore through the rubble, looking for survivors. Groups of men carried bodies wrapped in tarps out of the damaged buildings.

Fadhil Hussein, 32, who sells spices in the market, said he was thrown from his stall and suffered shrapnel wounds in his back and head.

"I found myself in a pickup truck with other people. Some of them were bleeding and yelling," he said.

The street was filled with water, presumably from a water main that burst.

Sami Hussein, 25, was heading to the market with her 5-year old son when she heard the blast, "followed by gray and black smoke, which engulfed the market and made me to fall on the ground."

She suffered shrapnel wounds in her face and legs.

"I lost my son, and have no idea about his fate," she said. Medical officials at the hospital said he had been killed in the explosion.

The neighborhood has seen an increase in violence in recent weeks, and Sunni politicians expressed fears that Shiite militiamen had resumed their campaign of sectarian cleansing in Amil and nearby neighborhoods of southwestern Baghdad.

The blast came amid the US and Iraqi security operation meant to flush out insurgents and restore order to Baghdad. Deadly attacks targeting civilians and police have continued, however.

US military officials say insurgent groups, feeling the pressure from the crackdown, have hit back by stepping up their car bombings with their devastating death tolls. A May 6 bombing in a market in the neighboring Baiyaa district killed 30 people and wounded 80 others.

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