Scores killed in fresh Iraq violence

More than 50 Iraqis have been killed in attacks, including 30 in a car bomb attack on a hospital, as violence escalates in the run-up to the 15 December general elections.

    al-Mahmudiya is one of Baghdad's many violence-wracked suburbs

    The bloodiest attack took place on Thursday in alMahmudiya, 20km south of the capital, where a man attempted to ram a booby-trapped car into a hospital compound.


    Thirty people died and 27 were wounded, including four US soldiers, security sources said.


    "I was leaving the hospital with my one-and-a-half-year-old son in my arms when the explosion happened," Huda Ali, 30, wounded on her face and arms, told AFP.


    "I was knocked down by the force of the blast and when I came to, my son was no longer in my arms. I found him among the dead."


    US casualties


    The US military reported the deaths of two servicemen in a roadside bombing on Thursday southwest of Baghdad, while four American soldiers were killed in a series of incidents on Wednesday.


    About 27 people were wounded in
    Thursday's deadly car bombing

    The latest deaths, reported as Americans celebrated Thanksgiving, brought to at least 2110 the number of US military personnel killed since the March 2003 invasion, according to the Pentagon.


    A second car bomb blew up on Thursday evening in a busy shopping district of Hilla, 120km south of the capital, killing three people and wounding 13, hospital officials said.


    In other violence, at least 10 Iraqis were shot dead in a series of attacks in Baghdad, including two children, six policemen, one army officer and an adviser to former prime minister Iyad Allawi.


    In al-Mahmudiya, where the car bomber struck, an army colonel was killed in a separate roadside bomb explosion.


    Violence may increase


    Near Baiji, north central Iraq, two Iraqi soldiers were killed and seven wounded by a roadside bomb, while further north, near Hawija, five people were shot and killed, three of them soldiers, when armed men opened fire on an army vehicle.


    "I was knocked down by the force of the blast and when I came to, my son was no longer in my arms. I found him among the dead"

    Huda Ali
    one of the survivors

    Authorities also found the bodies of two men and two women, strangled or shot dead, in al-Yusufiya, on the southern outskirts of the capital.


    The latest unrest comes just three weeks before elections for a four-year parliament, the final stage in Iraq's transition to democracy since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in April 2003.


    Iraqi government spokesman Leith Kubba warned that violence would probably increase in the coming weeks as anti-government fighters sought to disrupt the election campaign.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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