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Last Updated: Friday, 26 January 2007, 08:28 GMT
Many die in Iraq pet market blast
An injured man is helped into hospital
The bombing is the latest attack on a crowded market
A bomb detonated at a Baghdad pet market has killed at least 15 people and injured 35 others, police say.

The blast ripped through the Ghazil market in the city centre, a popular destination which sells dogs, cats, birds and other animals.

Baghdad's markets are now a regular target for bombers aiming to kill and maim high numbers of civilians.

Officials said a large bomb on Thursday killed 40 people and injured 80 in a central shopping district.

Along with exotic animals such as snakes and parrots, the market also sells domestic animals such as goats and sheep.

No respite

The Associated Press reported that a man carrying an egg carton apparently full of pigeons for sale arrived at the market and left his goods as he went to buy a drink.

The box then exploded as curious buyers gathered around to look inside, a witness said.

A boy watches a bird at the market
The market is popular on Fridays, a day off for people in Baghdad
"I was about 60 metres from where the blast occurred," shopper Raad Hassan told AP.

"My friends and I rushed to the scene where we saw burned dead bodies, pieces of flesh and several dead expensive puppies and birds."

Thousands of US troops have begun arriving in Baghdad in recent days as part of a "surge" aimed at defeating insurgents and ending sectarian violence.

The US says it has launched major security operations in Baghdad, killing or capturing dozens of insurgents.

Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has also won parliamentary support for tougher security operations.

However, there are still regular attacks, including mortars fired towards the heavily-fortified Green Zone area on Thursday, the site of Iraq's parliament and the US embassy compound.

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