A huge blast in a dining hall at a U.S. military base near Mosul on Tuesday, killed at least 24 people, including American soldiers, US contractors, members of the Iraqi national guard, and Iraqi civilians, Pentagon officials said.
Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall told the AP seven of the dead were from its KBR subsidiary or its subcontractors. More than 60 people were injured in the incident -- which occurred at just when hundreds of U.S. soldiers had sat down to lunch Tuesday, the officials said.
An Iraqi group, the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack. It said the attack was a "martyrdom operation" (often meant to s suicide bombing attack) targeting a mess hall in the al-Ghizlani camp. Although US officials initially said rockets or mortar rounds struck the camp, sources said later it was still under investigation.
Meanwhile, an American air strike killed six people and wounded 10 in the western Iraqi town of Hit overnight, the head of the local hospital told AFP.
The US military later confirmed it had carried out an air strike.
"We can confirm at approximately 2 am on December 21, a USAF (United States Air Force) aircraft in support of troops in contact, engaged an enemy fighting position with precision fighting in Hit," said a military spokesman.