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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 July, 2004, 22:50 GMT 23:50 UK
US condemns Iraqi bomb 'tragedy'
Two Iraqi men injured in the blast
Dozens of Iraqis were injured in the car bombing
The White House has condemned a suicide bombing which killed at least 68 people in Iraq, but said it would not derail efforts to rebuild the country.

The worst day of violence since the handover of sovereignty exactly a month ago saw more than 100 people killed across Iraq.

Dozens of people were injured in the morning car bomb in Baquba.

Witnesses said a suicide bomber drove a vehicle into a crowded market area, as men queued to join the police.

This underscores why the Iraqi people, with the help of the world, must and will prevail over terrorism
White House spokesman Trent Duffy

White House spokesman Trent Duffy called the attack a "terrible tragedy... Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims".

"This underscores why the Iraqi people, with the help of the world, must and will prevail over terrorism," he said.

Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, US Secretary of State Colin Powell was discussing whether Arab or Muslim states would be prepared to contribute troops to help keep stability in Iraq.

Saudi officials acknowledged talks were at an early stage, but said there was no agreement yet.

In Wednesday's violence:

  • seven Iraqi soldiers and 35 insurgents were killed in a joint multinational and Iraqi raid near the town of Suwariya, south of Baghdad

  • two soldiers serving with multinational forces were killed in clashes with insurgents in Anbar province, the US military said

  • a US soldier was killed and three others were wounded by a roadside bomb in north-west Baghdad, the US military said

  • eleven US soldiers were wounded and at least one Iraqi insurgent was killed in an attack on a US army camp outside Ramadi, west of the capital

  • at least one person was killed in a rocket explosion on a busy street in Baghdad

  • an Iraqi policeman was shot dead in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk

  • the Al-Jazeera TV channel said it had received a videotape showing two Pakistani hostages being killed

  • gunmen stormed the home of the governor of Iraq's Al-Anbar province in Ramadi, kidnapping three of his sons

Burning wreckage

The Baquba attack was the worst since the 28 June transfer of power, and the bloodiest since a blast in the holy city of Najaf last August killed more than 80 people.

Among those killed in Wednesday's car bombing were 21 people travelling in a minibus, a health ministry official said.

25 July - Clashes with police leave 13 insurgents dead
7 July - Car bomb during memorial service kills nine
27 June - Six national guards killed at checkpoint
26 June - Three die in grenade attack on political party offices
25 June - Three die in police station attack
24 June - 13 die in town amid co-ordinated blasts across Iraq

"I saw a car overtake a minibus and it slammed right into the queue of people," said Riad Abdul Latif, an internal affairs officer at the police station, who was 100m away when the bomb went off.

Police said young men had come to the police station to join the force. Because of the number of applicants, some had to queue outside.

After the blast, police put the dead and wounded in the back of pick-up trucks and drove them to hospital.

Men used hoses to douse the burning wreckage at the scene. Several bodies were also on fire amid the debris in what correspondents said were horrific scenes.

"God bless them, what have they done?" shouted one man of the victims.

Security forces have been a frequent target of attacks by groups opposed to the new government and US-led forces. Baquba, a mixed Sunni and Shia Muslim town, has experienced many attacks.


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