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Page last updated at 20:59 GMT, Friday, 14 May 2010 21:59 UK

Iraq football stadium hit by deadly suicide bombing

A man injured in the Tal Afar bombings is treated at a hospital in Dahuk (14 May 2010)
Victims of the Tal Afar attack were moved to several nearby hospitals

A suicide bombing at a football stadium in northern Iraq has killed 10 people and injured 120 others, police say.

An attacker detonated explosives hidden inside a vehicle at the entrance to the stadium in Tal Afar, a mainly Shia Turkmen town west of Mosul.

Witnesses said the blast was followed by at least one other. Some said up to three suicide bombers were involved.

Earlier, the militant umbrella group, the Islamic State of Iraq, warned Shias of "dark days soaked with blood".

"What is happening to you nowadays is just a drizzle," said Al-Nasser Lideen Allah Abu Suleiman, the group's so-called minister of war.

Abu Suleiman succeeded Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq who was killed along with ISI leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi in a joint operation by US and Iraq forces in April.

Political stalemate

No group has yet said it carried out the bombings in Tal Afar, but correspondents say the method was similar to past al-Qaeda attacks and the group remains active in the area.

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"Many people were gathered to watch the match," Hussein Nashad, who attended the game, told the AFP news agency by telephone from a hospital in Tal Afar where he was being treated for shock.

"We heard a loud explosion and the people behind me shielded me from the shrapnel. I ran away, but then I heard someone shout 'Allahu Akbar', and then there was another explosion," he said.

Another spectator, Ali Jaafar, told the Reuters news agency: "Suddenly we saw a pick-up in the middle of the field. The players were suspicious so they ran and as expected it turned out to be a suicide car bomber. The spectators began to run away but two suicide bombers were in the crowd."

On Monday, more than 100 people were killed in a series of apparently co-ordinated attacks blamed on al-Qaeda and its allies.



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