Page last updated at 13:20 GMT, Monday, 7 December 2009

Deadly bombing kills eight at Baghdad school


Children were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment

A bomb blast has killed at least eight people, mostly children, at a middle school in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

The explosion also wounded at least 40 others, reports say. The toll is expected to rise.

The attack happened in the Shia neighbourhood of Sadr City, an impoverished area that is seen as a stronghold of Shia militants.

Many children were returning to school for the first time after the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha.

"Everything was thrown into the air. I went outside to see what had happened and saw children running in all directions," neighbour Umm Ali, who was injured in the blast, said.

It happened at 1310 local time (1010 GMT) at Abaa Dhar School for boys in the north-east of Baghdad.

Most of those killed and injured were children, police said.


The blast opened a gash in a classroom wall, shattering windows and scattering desks.

Blood-soaked books were strewn around the school.

The explosion came after a rubbish tip inside the school was set fire to.

Iraqi security sources told reporters they believed a cache of explosives had been hidden by insurgents underneath the rubbish mound.

Sadr City used to be one of the most violent neighbourhoods in Baghdad.

At the height of the insurgency in 2006-2007 it saw some of the fiercest fighting, the BBC correspondent in Baghdad Natalia Antelava says.

There have been explosions at markets in Sadr City in recent months, but for residents the attack on children brings memories of some of the worst years of violence, our correspondent adds.

It comes a day after the Iraqi parliament passed the resolution paving a way for the general election in February.

The move was praised as an important step towards political stability but the explosion is a reminder of how unstable and fragile security is.

Government figures show that violence in Iraq has fallen generally over the past 18 months.

There were 88 civilian deaths last month, the lowest level since the 2003 US invasion.

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