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Iraqis dig for bodies after blast kills 150
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10:41, July 09, 2007

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TUZ KHURMATO, Iraq: Iraqis used heavy machines and shovels yesterday to look for bodies in a rubble left behind by one of the deadliest blasts that killed at least 150 people in a northern town as fresh attacks in and around Baghdad killed another 31.

Police officers said 20 people were still missing after Saturday's truck bomb blast in the Shi'ite town of Tuz Khurmato that also left 250 injured.

Two police officers in the town confirmed 150 people had been killed in Saturday's explosion, with Iraqi officials blaming Al-Qaida for the attack.

Among the 31 dead around Baghdad were 23 new Iraqi army recruits who were killed when a suicide truck bomber rammed into their truck south of the capital.

Many of the victims in Tuz Khurmato, 185 km north of Baghdad, were women and children who were shopping. The parked truck, packed with explosives but covered with hay, destroyed about 50 small shops and 50 houses, officials said.

Abbas Kadhim told Reuters the blast leveled his house, killing his wife, two sons aged 6 and 8, parents and a brother.

"I cannot understand this. My entire family was wiped out in one moment," said Kadhim, who was at work at the time.

"There is nothing to live for. I ask God why I didn't die with them so I wouldn't have to go through this torture."

The death toll of 150 makes it the second deadliest insurgent bombing in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003. In March, a truck bomb attack, also blamed on Al Qaida, killed 152 people in the northern town of Tal Afar.

The surge in bombings comes despite a major US and Iraqi military offensive that has focused largely on Baghdad and the beltways around the capital, where US commanders believe a lot of car bombs are put together.

The suicide truck bomber struck the new Iraqi army soldiers just after they had left a recruitment center in western Anbar province.

Police and army officials said 27 recruits were wounded in the attack near the town of Haswa. The recruits were Sunni Arabs who had just joined Iraq's security forces.

In Baghdad, a car bomb killed six people on a busy shopping street, while two more people died in a second blast in the capital, police said.

Source: China Daily



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