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Last Updated: Friday, 16 September 2005, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
Iraq mosque struck by car bomber
Iraqi men gather at the site of a suicide attack in Tuz Khurmatu
Worshippers were leaving the mosque when the blast happened
At least 10 people have been killed and more than 20 wounded in a suicide bomb attack outside a Shia mosque in central Iraq, say reports.

A suicide car bomber blew himself up as worshippers were leaving Friday prayers in the town of Tuz Khurmatu.

At least 12 other people died in attacks across the country on Friday.

The attacks come after two days of some of the bloodiest violence in Iraq since the end of the US-led war in 2003. More than 200 people have been killed.

Witnesses in Tuz Khurmatu, some 160 km (100 miles) north of Baghdad, said a bomber detonated his vehicle as worshippers were leaving the al-Rasoul al-Azam mosque.

Iraq is not hesitant to openly and frankly say we are in desperate need of... your support for its efforts to fight terrorism
Jalal Talabani
Iraqi president

"There are many, many wounded," said one man, who called Reuters news agency in Baghdad from the scene but refused to give his name. "I think there could be up to 20 or 30 dead."

Dr Hussein Ali Hassan from Tuz general hospital told AFP news agency they had received 10 bodies and 25 wounded.

Earlier on Friday, gunmen opened fire on a crowd of labourers gathered in the eastern New Baghdad area to look for work, killing at least two and wounding 13.

Labourers were the target in the worst single attack on Wednesday, which started the latest bloodshed.

More than 100 were killed by a suicide car bomber as they gathered to wait for daily work in Baghdad's mainly Shia Kadhimiya district.

"We are innocent people, working for just 10,000 or 12,000 dinars ($7 or $8) a day. Those criminals and terrorists came and did this to us," said labourer Salah Aziz Ali who was wounded in Friday's attack.

Al-Qaeda threat

In other developments:

  • Shia cleric Sheikh Fadil al-Lami, a preacher at Baghdad's Imam Ali mosque, is gunned down in Sadr City

  • Town official Amer Mohammed al-Khafagi and four of his guards are killed in Iskandariya

  • Three policemen are killed in a car bomb attack in Hasswa town

  • A US soldier is killed in an explosion in Ramadi

US jets pounded an abandoned school used by al-Qaeda in the town of Karabilah, some 320 km (200 miles) north-west of Baghdad, on Thursday night killing nine insurgents, the US military said.

A group claiming to be al-Qaeda in Iraq said on Wednesday it was launching a campaign of attacks in revenge for a recent US and Iraqi operation on the insurgent town of Talafar in the north.

'Right-to-life' threatened

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani acknowledged in a BBC interview that his country's security forces were currently not capable of stopping the latest wave of insurgent violence.

But he said that with further training, and the full implementation of plans to strengthen the forces, the authorities would end the wave of attacks.

He appealed to world leaders for help during the UN summit in New York.

"Iraq is not hesitant to openly and frankly say we are in desperate need of... your support for its efforts to fight terrorism," he said in a speech.

The UN said on Thursday the worsening state of security was depriving Iraqis of a right to life.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, in a progress report to the Security Council, said 80% of bodies brought to Baghdad's morgue in July showed evidence of a violent death.

The figure was "far in excess" of previous months and were an "important indicator of the absence of protection of the right to life which prevails at this time in Iraq", he said.

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