"This is a big disaster for the town, all of the casualties were civilians," he added.

Corpses

Ambulances and private cars ferried dozens of corpses and wounded civilians to nearby clinics and hospitals in where relatives waited for news of the missing.

"I heard the cries of my child, then I heard nothing else until I woke in hospital ...  I don't know the fate of my husband and my family"

Sukaina Abdul Razak
Dr Wissam Abdullah, the director of a local hospital said the dead and wounded had been taken to an emergency room at his hospital in Tuz Khurmatu, to two hospitals in Kirkuk and two more as far away as the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah.

Lieutenant colonel Saman Hamid, security forces commander in nearby Tuz Khurmatu, told the AFP news agency, "there are more than 250 wounded."

"I heard the cries of my child, then I heard nothing else until I woke in hospital," Sukaina Abdul Razak, whose clay brick home collapsed when the bomb went off, said.
  
"I don't know the fate of my husband and my family. They were all in the kitchen, but I was in my room."
 
'Smoke and dust'

Shrapnel from the explosion killed shoppers hundreds of metres from ther bomb, Hussein Abu Al-Hussein Akbar Aziz said.
  
"We have never seen an attack like that in Amirli. The whole village was shrouded in smoke and dust," he said. "I was serving a woman and her child in my shop. They were both killed."

Earlier reports had put the death toll at about 20 people.

It was the second attack on a village in the north of the country in the last 24 hours. 

Late on Friday a suicide car bomber killed 22 people and wounded 17 others when he drove his vehicle into a group of Shia Kurds near Iraq's border with Iran.
 
The victims were returning from a funeral, a local official said.

In another attack, six people were killed, including five Iraqi soldiers, when a car bomb was driven into a military checkpoint in east Baghdad, an army spokesman said. The attack also wounded 24 people, including 18 soldiers.
  
US soldiers killed

Meanwhile, the US military announced the deaths of six troops in the past three days, mostly victims of roadside bombs in Baghdad.

Three soldiers were killed by the devices in Baghdad on Friday and another on Saturday. Two Marines were killed in combat in Anbar province, the US military said.

So far this month 20 soldiers have been killed, half of them in Baghdad.

Overnight, a mortar killed seven members of a family in Baghdad as they slept on their roof, police said.

Constant power outages often force Iraqis to sleep on the roof of their homes to try and escape sweltering summer temperatures inside.

Police said the mortar bomb that killed seven family members in the mostly Sunni neighbourhood of Fadhil in central Baghdad also wounded two neighbours.