Thursday, August 31, 2006

Insurgents kill 77 in Iraq as bloodshed mounts

Insurgents have killed at least 77 Iraqis and wounded scores in a series of shootings and bombings, including one in a crowded Baghdad market and another at a military recruitment centre.

A blast in the Shurja market left 24 dead and 35 wounded Wednesday and came just two hours after rebels targeted an Iraqi army recruitment centre in the Shiite town of Hilla, south of Baghdad, killing 12 volunteers and wounding 38. The Baghdad market blast came despite a massive security crackdown in the violent Iraqi capital, rattling windows one kilometre (half a mile) away as a plume of dust and smoke climbed above the skyline.

Body parts were strewn across the area. Windows of nearby shops were shattered, two cars were ripped apart and a popular restaurant blown open. "Firefighters are fighting to quell the fire as many shops are burning," a police officer said at the scene, adding that the bomb had been placed in a bag and partially concealed by a bicycle. "People are gathering the mobile phones and money of those killed and storing them in a nearby mosque. They were also collecting flesh and body parts in plastic bags," he added.



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