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Truck bomb kills 17 at central Iraq market

Associated Press

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BAGHDAD: A pickup truck packed with explosives blew up at an Iraqi vegetable market on Saturday, police said, killing 17 and wounding dozens in the latest outbreak of violence to hit the country.

They said the nighttime bombing in Samarra, 60 miles north of the capital, also wounded at least 35 people and damaged several shops.

More than 5,000 people have been killed in Iraq since attacks began accelerating in April following a deadly security crackdown against a Sunni protest camp in the northern town of Hawija.

Meanwhile in the country’s north, gunmen broke into a family’s house at night in the city of Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, killing a man as well as his wife and son, police said. They gave no further details except that they were investigating the attack.

The latest surge in violence has raised fears that Iraq could be returning to widespread sectarian killings similar to those that brought the country to the edge of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

Places such as markets, cafes and mosques have been favorite targets for Sunni insurgents who aim at undermining the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

Medical officials at a nearby hospital confirmed the casualty figures. All officials provided details of the violence on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information.

In another development, the U.N. human rights chief condemned Iraq’s execution of 42 prisoners over two days last week.

Navi Pillay on Friday denounced such mass executions as “obscene and inhuman” and warned that they undermined efforts to reduce violence and achieve a more stable society.

Iraq’s justice system is “too deeply flawed to warrant even a limited use of the death penalty, let alone dozens of executions at a time,” Pillay said in a news release from Geneva.

At least some of the latest executions, which were carried out Wednesday and Thursday, breached international law because Iraq is unable to hold fair trials, Pillay’s spokesman said.

The New York Times contributed to this report.


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