Page last updated at 21:24 GMT, Tuesday, 17 June 2008 22:24 UK

Baghdad bus stop bomb 'kills 51'


A car bomb explosion at a busy bus stop in northern Baghdad has killed 51 people and left another 75 wounded, Iraqi police have said.

The explosion took place in the mainly Shia Muslim neighbourhood of Hurriya.

The bomb appeared to have been timed to go off during the early evening rush hour, when the bus stop was crowded with waiting passengers.

It is the deadliest bombing in Iraq's capital for weeks, following a security drive by Iraqi and US forces.

Tuesday's blast set fire to about 20 shops and razed a multi-storey building, security officials said.

Reversible security

Khalid Hassan, 40, who suffered shrapnel wounds and burns, told AP news agency: "People were confused, upset and running in all directions. We are all victims of terrorism and carelessness."


Mourners carrying coffins lead the funeral procession

The BBC's Nicholas Witchell in Baghdad says the explosion is a sharp reminder of the fragility of recent security improvements.

In other developments in Iraq on Tuesday:

  • Iraqi state TV journalist Muhieddin Abdul-Hamid, 50, was shot dead near his home in the northern city of Mosul
  • A suicide bomber on a motorcycle struck a Baghdad checkpoint manned by US-allied neighbourhood security guards, killing one, officials said
  • Another suicide car bomber struck a checkpoint in Baquba, north-east of the capital, killing a policeman, officials said.

The number of attacks by insurgents and sectarian factions has dropped significantly in Baghdad, although sporadic shootings and bombings have continued.

Some 500 Iraqis were killed last month, compared with more than 1,000 in April.

And the toll of American soldiers killed in May - at 19 - was the lowest monthly figure since the conflict began.

The US military, which led an invasion to overthrew Saddam Hussein's government five years ago, has repeatedly warned that security improvements are reversible.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has meanwhile ordered a crackdown on Shia militias in Baghdad and Basra and Sunni Arab insurgents in the north.

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Springfield News SunUS: Shiite 'special group' behind Iraq bombing - 3 hrs ago
Helena Independent Massive bombing upsets recent calm in Baghdad - 4 hrs ago
The Sun News Iraq shows resolve after deadly car bombing - 5 hrs ago
Casper Star Tribune Car bomb shatters Baghdad's calm, kills 51 - 6 hrs ago
Times of India 51 killed in Baghdad bomb blast - 7 hrs ago
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