Saturday, November 19, 2005

IRAQ: DEATH TOLL IN MOSQUE ATTACKS MAY EXCEED 100

Baghdad (AKI) - The death toll from the two suicide attacks on mosques in the eastern Iraqi town of Khanaqin on Friday may be more than 100, according to a member of the local council, Ibrahim Ahmed, who made his assessment after seeing the destruction caused by the blasts and the bodies that were trapped in the rubble of the damaged structures. The blasts occurred when the two Shiite Muslim mosques were packed with people who were there for Friday prayers.

A French news agency quoted a provincial council leader as saying "two suicide bombers wearing explosive belts walked into the Greater and the Smaller Khanaqin mosques and blew themselves up, killing and injuring dozens of people."

The police have put the death toll at 41,(now 80), but warn that the figure could rise.

Earlier on Friday morning, six people were killed when two explosions occurred outside the Iraqi interior ministry building in Baghdad which is at the centre of the latest prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq. At least 40 people were injured in the blasts, which eyewitnesses said were caused by two suicide bombers who drove their vehicles at the ministry complex. The force of the explosions brought down nearby residential buildings, burying people in the rubble.

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