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Last Updated: Friday, 1 February 2008, 15:38 GMT
Eyewitness: Iraqi markets blown to bits
The Ghazil market had been crowded with Iraqis out shopping

Residents of Baghdad have described how they were enjoying their day off work in the city's pet markets, when the happy atmosphere was shattered by bomb attacks.

The bombs came about 20 minutes apart and hit two separate markets, killing dozens of people and injuring scores more.

Ali Ahmed, a pigeon vendor, said the Ghazil market had been particularly busy because it was a bright winter's day following a recent cold spell.

He was about 40m from the bomb explosion, and was hit by shrapnel in his legs and chest.

Most people who visit this market are poor and just want to enjoy themselves
Hassan Salman
Birdseed seller

"I just remember the horrible scene of the bodies of dead and wounded people mixed with the blood of animals and birds, then I found myself lying in a hospital bed," he told the Associated Press news agency.

He said he was worried because his friend, Zaki, had disappeared after the explosion.

Another witness, Abu Haider, said: "I came here to enjoy myself. I don't know how I survived.

"I was right there at the scene when the blast happened. It knocked me over. When I managed to get up, I saw dozens had been killed and wounded," he told Reuters news agency.

Tradesmen and customers were left standing amid wrecked stalls and the carcasses of dead birds and animals.

"Most people who visit this market are poor and just want to enjoy themselves but they came and got killed," said Hassan Salman, a birdseed seller.

Hopes shattered

While the shock had still not sunk in at Ghazil, an explosion hit a second bird market in south-eastern Baghdad.

An Iraqi mourns a relative after a bomb attack, 01/02/08
Iraqis were beginning to feel security was returning to Baghdad

Rae Muhsin, the 21-year-old owner of a mobile phone shop, told AP that he was walking towards the New Baghdad bird market when he heard a roar, and nearby windows smashed.

"I ran toward the bird market and saw charred pieces of flesh, small spots of blood and several damaged cars," he said.

He added that he would no longer visit the popular Friday market.

"I thought that we had achieved real security in Baghdad, but it turned out that we were wrong," he said.

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