Scores killed in Baghdad blasts

More people die when a third bomb explodes in a market near the city of Baquba.

    Bombers struck a mainly Shia market in the centre of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital [AFP]

    Al-Zameli said that 156 people were wounded in the Baghdad attacks and warned that his ministry's official death toll of 78 could rise further.
     
    A few hours later at least 12 people were killed and more than 40 were wounded when a bomb exploded in a market in the village of Khalis, near Baquba.
     
    The city of Buqaba, 100kms northeast of Baghdad, has been the scene of heavy fighting between its Sunni and Shia inhabitants. 
     
    New US troops
     
    George Bush, the US president, is sending more than 21,500 fresh US troops to Iraq to help the Iraqi government stop spiralling violence.
     
    Around 17,500 of the reinforcements are to be deployed in Baghdad where sectarian violence between Shia death squads and Sunni car-bombers has been highest.
     
    US generals have said that previous offensives in the capital failed because there were too few soldiers to hold neighbourhoods that had been cleared in house-to-house sweeps.
     
    Also on Monday, CNN television reported that military sources have said that a US helicopter which killed 12 soldiers when it crashed on Saturday may have been brought down by an insurgent-fired missile.
     
    Sunni stronghold sealed off
     
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    Early on Monday, Iraqi forces backed by US troops sealed off Adhimiya, a predominantly Sunni neighbourhood of Baghdad, but the defence ministry said this was not the start of a promised new offensive.
     
    Residents of the area in northern Baghdad said Iraqi soldiers had set up checkpoints on roads leading into the area and were preventing motorists from passing through.
     
    They said the operation followed several nights of shooting.
     
    American troops in armoured Stryker vehicles was also seen, other witnesses said.
     
    They reported seeing residents walking out of the district on foot towards a nearby highway to catch lifts from passing cars.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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