At least 26 dead in Iraq blast
A suicide car bomb killed 26 people and injured 69 in a crowded market in the Iraqi town of Hilla on Tuesday, police said. According to Reuters, police said the market was also close to a maternity hospital in the Shi'ite town, 100 km south of Baghdad. The blast set at least 10 cars ablaze, police said.
The explosion occurred at 9 a.m..
"Most of the wounded were women and children, and the blast destroyed 15 vehicles and about 20 nearby shops," said Lieutenant Eid al-Shammari of the local police. Doctor Mohammed Dhia, head surgeon at the Hilla hospital confirmed the casualties, adding that 25 of those wounded had serious injuries, including severe burns.
Medical officials earlier confirmed that bodies had been evacuated to two hospitals in the area.
On Monday, U.S. and Iraqi forces blocked access to a town on the northeast outskirts of Baghdad where Shiite gunmen were dug in for a third day behind earthen barriers. Police issued calls for locals to leave the town, and some said they were running out of food and fuel.
The blockade of Husseiniyah came as at least 16 people died when four car bombs rocked the center of Baghdad.
Police, morgue and hospital officials reported a total of at least 59 people killed or found dead nationwide Monday, and the American military announced the deaths of three soldiers and a Marine.