At least 15 people died and 132 were hurt when a building used by militants to store weapons and tonnes of explosives blew up in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Wednesday, senior security officials said. Iraqi officials said women and children were among the victims from the explosion.
"There are still people trapped inside the blast site and under rubble," Major-General Mark Hertling, commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq, told Reuters. He said Iraqi soldiers had detonated a roadside bomb they had found, which triggered a "massive secondary" explosion in the building. Explosive experts at the scene estimated 15 tonnes of ordnance had been hidden in the building, Hertling conveyed.
Witnesses said it was one of the biggest explosions ever heard in Mosul. The explosion destroyed the unoccupied three-storey building. Hertling said 12 civilians and three Iraqi troops had been killed and that U.S. military medics had been sent to Mosul to help treat the wounded.
In another attack in northern Iraq, a suicide car bomb killed seven people and wounded 16 others about 40 km from the city of Kirkuk, police said.
Elsewhere, gunmen opened fire on an Iraqi army checkpoint in central Baghdad Wednesday, killing eight troops and injuring two, police said. The drive-by shooting occurred about 11 a.m. in the Bab al-Mudham district, a commercial area on the eastern side of the Tigris River in central Baghdad.
Two other soldiers were wounded, a police officer said, according to the AP.
Meanwhile, at least six members of an Iraqi family died in the city of Baquba, reports said Wednesday. The independent Iraqi news agency Voices of Iraq said suspected members of the al-Qaeda network attacked the house in the Behrez area, south of Baquba. They kidnapped the Iraqi civilian and five other members of his family. Security sources later found their corpses in a nearby district, the news agency said.