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33603Baghdad market blast kills scores

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  • News-M
    Jul 1, 2006
      Baghdad market blast kills scores
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5136028.stm
      An explosion has ripped though a busy Baghdad market, killing at least
      60 people, officials say.
      Nearly 80 others were injured in the car bomb attack in Sadr City, a
      Shia area frequently targeted by insurgents.

      In a separate incident, a female Sunni MP and seven of her bodyguards
      were kidnapped, parliamentary sources said.

      The new Iraqi government has been battling to improve security in the
      capital, repeatedly hit by car bombs and kidnappings.

      The market attack is believed to be the worst single blast in Baghdad
      for weeks.

      Reports say the car bomb was detonated as a police patrol passed,
      causing police and civilian casualties.

      Markets have frequently been targeted by insurgents. In March three
      market blasts in Sadr City killed dozens.

      On Monday, markets in two mainly Shia towns - Baquba, north-east of
      Baghdad, and Hilla, south of the capital - killed more than a dozen people.

      A wave of attacks across Baghdad on 17 June, which killed more than 40
      people, also included two markets among its targets.

      The MP reported missing was named as Taiseer Najah al-Mashhadani, a
      member of the Iraqi Accordance Front, which is the largest parliamentary
      grouping of the Sunni community.

      Clampdown

      Three weeks ago the government of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki imposed a
      major security clampdown in Baghdad in a bid to stem the wave of attacks.



      It was imposed only days after the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab
      al-Zarqawi, died in a US air strike.

      On Friday, Reuters news agency quoted US Army Col Jeffrey Snow as saying
      the number of attacks had risen since the clampdown was imposed.

      As more security force patrols were on the streets, more attacks on them
      were being made, he said.

      Last weekend, in a further bid to move the country away from violence,
      Mr Maliki unveiled a national reconciliation plan.

      The 24-point plan offered an amnesty to some insurgents, and outlined
      plans to disarm militias and beef up Iraqi security forces ahead of a takeover
      from coalition forces.

      The plan has been criticised by a leading Sunni group, the Association
      of Muslim Scholars, which said it was no more than a public relations
      exercise.