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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 September, 2003, 18:48 GMT 19:48 UK
Blast hits Iraqi 'sex cinema'
Nojoom Cinema, Mosul
Witnesses said posters advertising porn films could be seen inside
An explosion has ripped through a cinema in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing two people and injuring up to 20 others.

The cinema was showing a pornographic film at the time of the explosion, witnesses said.

Islamic militants are known to oppose what they call "immoral" movies and have attacked some cinemas in post-war Iraq for showing them.

Earlier on Wednesday, a remotely detonated bomb left on a central Baghdad roadside destroyed two commuter buses, killing one Iraqi and injuring 22 others.

The blast at the Nojoom Cinema on Halab Street in Mosul's commercial district occurred at about 1515 (1015 GMT).

"A grenade exploded inside the cinema. Twenty people were injured, two were killed," Mohammed Sadiq, an officer at a nearby police station, told Reuters news agency.

The BBC's Caroline Hawley, in Baghdad, says the showing of porn films since the fall of Saddam Hussein has infuriated religious leaders in the country.

Restrictions on the import of foreign films - including pornographic films - ended after the collapse of the former leader's regime.

Religious and political groups have distributed flyers warning theatre owners not to show films of a sexual nature.

Bus blast

At least one person was killed and more than 20 others were injured after two commuter buses were hit by a roadside bomb in central Baghdad, Iraqi police said.

The Baghdad blast happened at about 0930 (0530GMT) in the central neighbourhood of al-Dameer.

Scene of the blast
One of the buses bore the brunt of the blast
Witnesses said an explosive device planted at the side of the road went off when a US patrol passed by. It missed the American soldiers but hit two minibuses instead.

Several people, including a young girl, had leg and arm injuries.

Shopkeeper Ala Saddam said his store was rocked by the blast which struck the buses.

"We were sitting inside the store... when the explosion went off," he said.

"The glass shattered in my shop. We went out and saw the two small buses had been hit," he added.

The police later said the bomb appeared to be a home-made device.

It is the latest in a series of attacks in the capital in recent days.

On Monday, a bomb attack apparently targeting the United Nations building, killed two people, including the bomber.

Assassination attempt

Meanwhile, the condition of Iraqi Governing Council member Aqila al-Hashimi, who was shot in Baghdad by unidentified gunmen last week, is reported to have worsened.

French news agency AFP said she had undergone two stomach operations after being taken to a US medical facility.

She is currently in a "critical but stable condition", it added..

The BBC's Caroline Hawley
"It's an illustration of the daily insecurity facing ordinary Iraqis"

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