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Middle East
Baghdad attack destroys TV office
At least four dead after suicide bomber detonates outside Al Arabiya's Iraq bureau.
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2010 09:56 GMT
Iraqi officials had warned Al Arabiya of threats against the channel last month [AFP]

A suicide bomber has detonated an explosives-laden vehicle outside the Baghdad bureau of Al Arabiya television channel, killing at least four people, injuring another 10 and destroying their offices.

"There was a huge explosion that shook the building - all the rooms were damaged," Tareq Maher, a journalist for Al Arabiya, told the channel in a live broadcast after the explosion on Monday.

Initial reports said six people were killed in the attack in Baghdad's western Harithya area, but the channel's report put the death tollat four - three security guards and a cleaning lady. A Bangladeshi office assistant was also missing.

Iraqi officials blamed the bombing on al-Qaeda in Iraq, and had warned Al Arabiya of threats against them in June.

The Dubai-based broadcaster has had its offices and staff attacked in Iraq in the past.

A remote-control bomb was planted on the bureau chief's car in September 2008, although he escaped unharmed.

In October 2006, a car bomb outside a previous bureau killed seven people.

Earlier that year, Atwar Bahjat, an Al Arabiya TV presenter, along with two of her colleagues were kidnapped and murdered in the town of Samarra, north of Baghdad.

The channel was also banned from reporting in Iraq for a month in September 2006 over its coverage of a controversial regional autonomy bill.

Iraq has seen an increase in attacks in recent months after national elections on March 7 left no clear winner and an atmosphere of political uncertainty.

More than four months on, the two leading coalitions - the State of Law bloc of Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, and Iyad Allawi'sIraqiya list - continue to bicker and negotiate with smaller parties over who should lead Iraq's next government.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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