[QODLink]
Middle East

Deaths in suicide car bombing in Iraq

At least 47 people killed at a security checkpoint near the southern Shia Muslim city of Hillah, officials say.

Last updated: 09 Mar 2014 17:56
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

A suicide bomber driving a minibus packed with explosives killed at least 47 people and wounded more than 160 others in the southern Iraqi city of Hillah, police and medical sources have said.

The attacker approached a main checkpoint at a northern entrance to the Shia-majority city on Sunday, and detonated the minibus, a police officer said on condition of anonymity.

At least 50 cars were set ablaze with passengers trapped inside and part of the checkpoint complex was destroyed, the officer said.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.

"I was sitting inside my kiosk when suddenly a horrible blast threw me outside and hurled my groceries up in the air. I saw cars set ablaze with people burning inside," Abu Nawar, owner of a makeshift kiosk made of palm tree leaves near the checkpoint, told Reuters news agency.

Police were using cutting equipment to break inside the burnt vehicles and lift out charred bodies, the police officer said, adding that the death toll was expected to rise.

"When a policeman suspected the minibus, he asked the driver to pull over for a check, but the vehicle exploded," the police officer said.

Iraq has seen a spike in violence since last April, with the death toll climbing to its highest levels since the worst of the country's sectarian bloodletting in 2006-2008.

The UN says 8,868 people were killed in 2013, and more than 1,400 people were killed in January and February of this year.

250

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
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.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
join our mailing list