Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Baghdad market bomb kills scores

Nearly 70 people have been killed by a bomb blast in the eastern Sadr City area of Baghdad , Iraqi officials say.

Police said the device went off in a market place in the predominantly Shia area of the Iraqi capital. More than 130 people were also reported to have been injured in the blast, one of the worst in Iraq this year. It comes less than a week before US soldiers pull out of all Iraqi cities, a move the US said would not be affected by a recent surge in violence.


An interior ministry official told the AFP news agency the blast struck the market place at about 1930 (1630 GMT). The official said the bomb was hidden underneath a motorised cart carrying vegetables for sale. "I heard a boom and saw a ball of fire," said Najim Ali, a 30-year-old father who was injured in the blast. "I saw cars flying in the air because of the force of the explosion," he was quoted as saying by AFP. Raad Latif, a local shop owner, said the scene after the blast was "horrific". He said people ran to help the injured after hearing the explosion but were initially kept back as security forces tried to get emergency vehicles to the scene.

"After a while they came to their senses and allowed us to help as much as we could. The scene was horrific," he told Reuters.Another witness told the Associated Press news agency he heard a sound like "unbelievable thunder" and was knocked to the ground by "a hurricane". Market stalls were set on fire and an official told AP that people standing 600m away were hit by shrapnel.

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