Twin blasts rock market south of Baghdad; at least 5 killed

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Twin blasts kill 5 at market south of Baghdad

BAGHDAD — Back-to-back bombings at a vegetable market south of Baghdad on Thursday afternoon killed at least five people, including a policeman who was searching for explosives, Iraqi security and medical officials said.

The blasts in Iskandariyah, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Baghdad, also wounded at least 20 people, according to Dr. Nahid al-Maamouri of the Iskandariyah Hospital.

The first explosion came around 4:45 p.m., during the busy afternoon shopping hours ahead of the Muslim weekend. The second bomb hit about five minutes later, witnesses said, as people rushed to the attack scene to help.

Iskandariyah police said an explosives detector, held by a policeman just inside the small market’s only entrance, had failed to find the bombs before they went off. The policeman was also killed in the blast, said a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to talk to the media.

The area was once controlled by Sunni insurgents, who have been waging sporadic attacks in an apparent effort to reassert their influence in former strongholds.

Nearby, gunmen killed a member of a Sunni militia formed to battle insurgents just hours earlier on Thursday.

Police Maj. Muthana Khalid said a member of a so-called Awakening Council unit, or Sahwa, was killed in a drive-by shooting near his house just outside Iskandariyah.

Suspected Sunni insurgents often target members of the civilian militias that allied with Iraqi and U.S. forces.

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