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Tags: Iraq | bloody | day | year

Iraq Endures Bloodiest Day of Year

Monday, 10 May 2010 10:22 AM EDT

HILLA, Iraq — Twin car bombs against factory workers and an apparently coordinated series of attacks targeting security forces killed 68 people in Iraq on Monday in the bloodiest day to hit the country this year.

In the deadliest attack, two explosives-packed vehicles detonated minutes apart in the car park of a textiles factory in the central city of Hilla, 95 kilometres (60 miles) south of Baghdad.

Shortly afterwards, a massive blast, which an interior ministry official said was a suicide bomber wearing an explosives-filled belt, engulfed the area as emergency service workers rushed to the scene to treat victims.

The official said the explosions, which struck the State Company for Textile Industries at around 1:30 pm (1030 GMT) as workers were leaving, killed 36 people and wounded 140 others.

"We received intelligence of car bombs targeting sites in Hilla, so we searched different parts of the city, and then we heard the explosions," said a police officer speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We went to the scene and we saw all the damage, the blood and the dead bodies."

A hospital official in Hilla had earlier put the toll at 20 dead.

The capital Baghdad was hit by a spate of shootings with automatic weapons against six police or army checkpoints in the east and west of the city, accounting for seven of the dead, the interior ministry official said.

Two other policemen died in three bombings in south and west Baghdad.

"The attacks started at 6:30 am (0330 GMT) and ended around 8:00 am (0500 GMT)," the official said, noting that nearly all of the wounded were security personnel.

A double bomb attack near the mosque in Suwayrah, 60 kilometres (40 miles) southeast of the capital, killed 11 people and wounded 70, a police lieutenant told AFP.

There were also four bomb attacks on houses in and around the former Sunni insurgent bastion of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, three of which were owned by security officials. Police and a doctor at Fallujah hospital confirmed a total of four people had been killed and 11 injured in the attacks.

Eight other people were killed in separate attacks near the main northern city of Mosul, in Iskandiriyah, south of Baghdad, and near Tarmiyah, north of the Iraqi capital.

Monday's death toll was the highest since December 8, when 127 people were killed in five massive vehicle-borne bombs across the capital.

There were more than 20 attacks in total on Monday, which Major General Qassim Atta, a security forces spokesman in Baghdad, said appeared to be a coordinated assault on security and civilian targets.

The latest violence came as Iraq headed towards forming a new government, two months after elections in which no clear winner emerged.

Electoral officials said on Sunday that results from the March 7 vote were nearly finalised with totals from all but one province sent for ratification. A recount in the lone exception, Baghdad, is more than half done.

Monday's unrest comes after the number of Iraqis killed in violence in April fell slightly month on month but was almost unchanged from 12 months ago.

Figures compiled by the health, interior and defence ministries showed that 328 people -- 274 civilians, 39 police and 15 soldiers -- died as a result of attacks in April, only slightly fewer than the 355 killed 12 months ago.

April's death toll, however, was down slightly on March, when 367 people were killed in unrest.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

HILLA, Iraq — Twin car bombs against factory workers and an apparently coordinated series of attacks targeting security forces killed 68 people in Iraq on Monday in the bloodiest day to hit the country this year.
Monday, 10 May 2010 10:22 AM
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