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Middle East
Car bomb kills dozens in Baghdad
At least 41 people dead after explosion near restaurant in Shula district.
Last Modified: 21 May 2009 07:14 GMT

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but it had similarities with attacks by al-Qaeda [Reuters]

At least 41 people have been killed and more than 76 others wounded after a car bomb exploded near a popular restaurant in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, police and hospital officials have said.

The blast went off in the district of Shula, a mostly poor, Shia area, at around 7pm on Wednesday, officials said.

"The explosion happened around a number of restaurants and retail shops," one official at Iraq's defence ministry said.

"It happened when the streets were filled with people. There were a large number of people shopping.

"Many people were sitting in the restaurants. That is why there are so many victims," the official said.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but the method and location was similar to previous attacks by al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Jalil al-Shimmari, the director of hospitals in Baghdad, said: "The attackers had no military target. They were all civilians. This shows the cowardice of the attackers."

Twin attacks

Shula was also targeted by bombers on December 25 last year, killing four people.

Security has improved in Iraq since last year, but a rash of bombings in April made it the deadliest month for civilians since November.

The last large-scale bomb attack in Iraq was on April 29, in which 51 people were killed in twin car bomb attacks in the Shia Sadr City district of Baghdad.

Recent blasts have raised concern about security in the capital ahead of a June 30 deadline for the US to remove all combat forces from Baghdad and other Iraqi cities.

Source:
Agencies
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