[QODLink]
Middle East
Deaths in Iraq car bomb attack
Children and women among dozens killed in southern town of al-Bathaa.
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2009 21:56 GMT

Nobody claimed responsibility for the attack but the governor of Nasiriya blamed al-Qaeda [Reuters]

At least 30 people have been killed and 70 others injured after a car bomb ripped through a market in a town in southern Iraq.

Ali Fahad, the mayor of al-Bathaa, said that children and women were among those killed in the attack on Wednesday.

"We are now transporting the casualties to the general hospital in Nasiriya."

Al-Bathaa is situated 30km west of Nasiriya in the province of Dhiqar.

Al-Qaeda suspected

Mohammed al-Nasiry, a journalist in Nasiriya, told Al Jazeera: "It's the first time in three years since we've had such a big explosion in Nasiriya.

In video


 Bomb kills dozens in southern Iraq market 
 Iraq orphanages offer haven for homeless

"High security measures have been taken by authorities, bridges are being closed and the city is under semi-curfew. There are fears of another suspicious car that may explode at any time," he said.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack, but car bombings are regarded as being a standard form of attack by al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Talib al-Hassan, the governor of Nasariya, said : "We accuse al-Qaeda  ... the security forces are working to get precise information."

'Creating havoc'

The local police chief was sacked following the attack, and an inquiry launched to determine whether police could have prevented it.  

Hussein Salim, a witness, said the market was supposed to be guarded by the police, adding: "The police neglected their job.

"How could the car enter the market? It was crowded with people."

The death toll from the explosion could rise, Akram al-Tamimi, the media manager of the Nasariya provincial council, said.

The attack comes just weeks before US troops are due to pull out of all towns and cities across the country.

Fereydun Rafiq Hilmi, an Iraqi political analyst, told Al Jazeera: "... the philosophy of a car bombing is to create havoc and a feeling of insecurity, a situation where the government look weak, the forces that are actually keeping law and order, look weak.
 
"Violence is escalating. Even today it is not the only bombing or violent attack that we have seen. There have been attacks all over Iraq, in Baghdad and Mosul and Fallujah and in other places. The shootings and a grenade here and there is not reported.
 
"This happened in an area which has been quiet for some time and that is why I think we have this in the news today whereas the others are ignored."

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.