Truck bomb in Diwaniya market near Shia mosque kills at least 40, while four die in two roadside bombs near Kerbala
Reuters in Diwanya
Bombs killed at least 44 people at markets in Iraq on Tuesday. Authorities said the attacks bore the marks of sectarian attacks on Shia Muslims by al-Qaida Sunni militants.
A bomb in a small truck exploded in a market in the city of Diwaniya, killing 40 and wounding 75, and other blasts killed four more and injured 29 near the city of Karbala.
The Diwaniya bombing was near a Shia mosque where pilgrims gather on their way to Karbala to celebrate the birthday of one of their most important imams, al-Mahdi, this week.
Police announced a partial curfew and blocked all entrances to Diwaniya, 150 km (90 miles) south of Baghdad and 130 km southeast of Karbala..
Ahmed Hassan, 23, a butcher, said: “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. 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,” Hassan said, looking pale and confused as he swept glass from his shop floor.
Shoes, toys and vegetables were scattered across the ground and at least 15 shops were destroyed. Two burnt-out vehicles stood 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 and wounded 29 near the central Iraqi city of Karbala.
Hussein Shadhan, a provincial council member, speaking at the local hospital, said: “The bombing happened because of sticky bombs attached to two parked cars which went off separately.
“Four of the wounded people are seriously injured and their medical situation is very critical.”
Reuters pictures showed pulverised vegetables covering the blackened market floor. People picked their way through twisted pieces of metal and smashed wooden crates.
Hospital and police sources said earlier they believed the attack had also been targeting Shia pilgrims visiting Karbala.
Salim Hussain, governor of Diwaniya, told Iraqiya state television: “Initial investigations show that today’s bombs bear the fingerprints of an al-Qaida terrorist group.”
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