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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 February 2008, 11:26 GMT
Iraq market bombs toll nears 100
An injured Iraqi man cries for his brother who was killed in one of the market bombings
The bombs were detonated minutes apart in crowded markets
The death toll from two Baghdad market bombs allegedly carried by mentally disabled women and set off remotely has risen to nearly 100, say officials.

The blasts on Friday at two animal markets in Baghdad left 99 people dead and up to 200 wounded, officials said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki said the use of disabled people underlined the "terrorists' moral degradation".

It was Baghdad's most deadly attack since violence fell in the wake of the US surge of troops last summer.

The first device was detonated on Friday morning at the busy Ghazil animal market, which was also targeted by bombers twice in 2007.

Minutes later, the second bomb, strapped to another woman, tore through a crowded market in the Jadida area of east Baghdad.

'Unwitting bombers'

Brig Qassem Ata al-Moussawi, Iraq's chief military spokesman in Baghdad, told the BBC: "The operation was carried out by two booby-trapped mentally disabled women. [The bombs] were detonated remotely".

I just remember the bodies of dead and wounded people mixed with the blood of animals and birds
Ali Ahmed
Pigeon vendor

Police said the women were wearing belts carrying 15kg (33lb) of explosives and may have been unwittingly sent on the suicide missions.

The Iraqi prime minister said: "The terrorists used disabled women in this crime. This shows the moral degradation of these criminal gangs and how much they hate mankind."

Ghazil market pigeon vendor Ali Ahmed said: "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."

Correspondents say the blasts shattered a fragile sense of security which had settled on Baghdad following the US troop "surge" in the second half of 2007.






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