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Suicide bomber kills dozens in Iraq

BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber killed 33 people and wounded 46 others Tuesday when he attacked a group of Shiite and Sunni tribesmen and police officers touring a local market in Baghdad's western suburb of Abu Ghraib, local officials and police said.

It was the second major attack in the capital area in three days.

On Tuesday, tribal leaders had met with a delegation from the Interior Ministry at Abu Ghraib's city hall and then escorted them on a tour to show how safe the district was, according to Nameer Hamdani, a member of the area's district council.

"One of those who claimed that they are mujahedeen (Islamic warriors) … targeted the delegation while they were having a tour in the public market," Hamdani said.

The explosion occurred away from the visiting security officials and instead killed and injured some journalists and police officers trailing the delegation, Hamdani said. Some shooting erupted after the blast between insurgents and security forces, he added.

The blast killed a reporter and a cameraman from the private Baghdadiya satellite channel, and a cameraman from the state-run Iraqia channel was wounded, police said. One police lieutenant colonel, who commanded a battalion, was also killed, police said.

There was no breakdown of how many of the casualties were police or civilians.

Abu Ghraib was notorious for the prison located there, dreaded by Iraqis under Saddam Hussein and later under the U.S. military after American soldiers were found to have beaten and psychologically tortured prisoners at the facility.

The bombing followed a similar attack on Sunday in Baghdad when a suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed 33 people waiting to enter the Interior Ministry compound in Baghdad for a police recruitment drive.

An increase in car and suicide bombings this month could amount to an assertion of strength by militant groups now that the White House has announced its intentions to withdraw all U.S. combat brigades from Iraq by August 2010.

. FAST FACTS

No extension

Despite ongoing violence, the Iraqi government is unlikely to ask American troops to remain in the country beyond a 2011 departure deadline, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

Suicide bomber kills dozens in Iraq 03/10/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 11:26pm]
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