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Triple blast kills 31 in Iraq

Iraqis inspect a bus after three bombs exploded around it in Baghdad on Monday. The owner of a nearby restaurant said most of the victims of the blast appeared to be from the bus, including women and children. He also said two of his customers and a worker were killed by the blasts.

Associated Press

Iraqis inspect a bus after three bombs exploded around it in Baghdad on Monday. The owner of a nearby restaurant said most of the victims of the blast appeared to be from the bus, including women and children. He also said two of his customers and a worker were killed by the blasts.

BAGHDAD — A triple bombing Monday morning destroyed a minibus full of passengers and rained glass and debris on people nearby, killing at least 31 people and injuring 71 in the deadliest attack in the Iraqi capital in six weeks.

The blasts were the worst in a string of recent blasts that raise doubts about Iraqi security forces as the U.S. prepares to reduce troops.

A white Volkswagen Passat parked in a street separating two restaurants blew up as a minibus carrying about 20 passengers drove by, witnesses said.

Moments later, two roadside bombs exploded on either side of the booby-trapped car, causing further casualties.

No group claimed responsibility for the morning rush-hour attacks but suspicion fell on al-Qaida in Iraq, which has made suicide bombings against Shiite civilians its signature attack.

In recent weeks, there has been an uptick in small-scale bombings in Baghdad. An Associated Press tally showed at least 19 bombings in the city this month as of Sunday, compared with 28 for all of October and 22 in September.

Most of the bombings occurred during the morning rush hour. They target Iraqi police and army patrols, government officials heading for work or commuters in an attempt to undermine public confidence.

The neighborhood where Monday's bombings occurred is predominantly Shiite, but it is part of the largely Sunni district of Azamiyah, which had been an al-Qaida stronghold until Sunni tribes broke with the terror movement last year.

Imad Karim, 38, the owner of a restaurant damaged by the bombings, said most victims appeared to be passengers on the bus, including three children and several women.

Two of his customers and one worker were also killed when the explosion shattered windows and caused the metal roof to collapse as diners ate breakfast, he said.

"We are not feeling safe," he said, standing outside his restaurant, amid twisted metal grates and rubble.

"There is no security."

Baghdad hospitals and the Interior Ministry, which controls the police, provided the same casualty figures of 31 dead and 71 wounded, but the Iraqi military's Baghdad city command said only four people were killed and 35 wounded. It was not possible to reconcile the difference.

Triple blast kills 31 in Iraq 11/10/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 9:30am]
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