Friday, March 26, 2010

Dozens Killed in Explosions Around Baghdad

Friday, March 26, 2010
19:41 Mecca time, 16:41 GMT

Twin Baghdad blasts kill dozens

Friday's explosions occurred less than an hour before the poll panel was set to disclose full results

At least 20 people have been killed and 60 others wounded in twin blasts in the town of Khales, in Iraq's Diyala province north of Baghdad, a security official said.

Among the wounded were women and children, said the official from Baquba Operations Command, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Friday's blasts struck at around 6:15pm (15:15 GMT) in front of a cafe and a restaurant in central Khales, around 65km northeast of Baghdad and near Diyala's provincial capital of Baquba.

The explosions came less than an hour before Iraq's national election commission was due to announce full results from the country's hotly-contested March 7 parliamentary election.

Violence has dropped dramatically across Iraq since its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common, especially in Baghdad and the restive northern city of Mosul.

Source: Agencies

Blasts as Iraq awaits poll result

At least 40 people have been killed in two bomb blasts in the Iraqi town of Khalis, as the country awaits final parliamentary election results.

More than 60 people were also reported hurt in the attack in Diyala province, 70km (43 miles) north-east of Baghdad.

Election officials in Iraq had said earlier that they planned to release the full results of the 7 March poll despite fears it could spark violence.

Prime Minister Nouri Maliki is in a tight race with challenger Iyad Allawi.

The Iraqiya political bloc of Mr Allawi, a former prime minister, was ahead by about 11,000 votes nationwide with 95% of the votes counted.

Speaking ahead of the announcement of the final results, the UN's envoy to Iraq, Ad Melkert, described the election as "credible" and a "success".

He called on Iraqi parties to "accept the results", the Associated Press reports.

Restaurant targeted

Mr Maliki's supporters have staged protests calling for a recount.

But the head of Iraq's election commission on Thursday ruled out holding a manual recount of all the votes cast.

No single group is expected to win a majority, renewing fears of a protracted political crisis and fresh violence.

A security official told the AFP news agency that women and children were among those caught in Friday's twin blasts in Khalis.

The attack appeared to target a popular restaurant in the town, near the provincial capital, Baquba.

A police official, Salah Mohammed, told AP that one of the blasts was caused by a car bomb and the other a suicide bomber.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2010/03/26 17:32:21 GMT

No comments: