110 killed in Iraq violence

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

The deadliest attack came on Sunday evening in the small town of Al-Musayyib, 60 kilometres south of the capital, where at least 71 were killed and 150 wounded.

A suicide bomber drove a stolen truck full of liquefied gas onto the central square, opened its valves, and blew himself up, setting off a firestorm that torched 20 cars and set shops and buildings ablaze.

Many victims were charred beyond recognition.

The bomber appeared to target a Shi’ite mosque which also houses the local offices of supporters of radical leader Moqtada al-Sadr.

The attack was within seconds followed by a mortar attack on the area.

“I was 100 metres away when I saw the fireball. It was enormous … People were burning in their cars. We had to get them out with hooks,” said Khodr Abbas, a 24-year-old working at the local Sadr office.

“I saw women in the burning houses crying for help and we couldn’t do a thing.”

One of the injured, Ammar al-Karaguili, 40, said he saw desperate parents throwing their children out of windows and from balconies to escape the inferno.

Police Lieutenant Hassan Ali said the square was normally closed off to tanker trucks, but he thought this one was let through a road block when the driver said he wanted to turn his vehicle around.

“The driver then stopped his truck, got out, opened the tanker’s gas valves and blew himself up,” Ali said.

Meanwhile, Iraq’s chief investigating judge Raed Juhi said a date for the trial of Saddam and his top aides would soon be announced, after charges were brought against them in connection with a 1982 massacre of 143 residents of the village of Dujail, north-east of Baghdad, after Saddam survived an assassination bid there.

The former dictator, his stepbrother Barzan Ibrahim Al-Hassan, former vice-president Taha Yasin Ramadan, former top judge Awad Badar Al-Bender and others will be tried in connection with the case, he added.

Other investigations, including those of alleged genocide against the country’s Kurdish and Shi’ite communities are continuing with investigators examining more than two million documents and interviewing 7,000 witnesses.

Saddam, who was overthrown two years ago, has been in US detention near Baghdad airport since December 2003, along with most of his leading lieutenants.

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