A suicide bomber blew up his minibus in Baghdad after luring a crowd of labourers to the vehicle with promises of work, killing 114 people. It was the bloodiest in a wave of apparently coordinated attacks in the Iraqi capital that has left more than 150 people dead and hundreds more injured.
Al Qaeda in Iraq has claimed in an internet statement it is waging a nationwide suicide bombing campaign to avenge a military offensive on a rebel town. Iraqi and US troops have been fighting Sunni rebels for days in the town near the Syrian border and have killed 157 people and detained a further 440.
The blast in the mainly Shi’ite district of Kadhimiya has left the local hospital reeling. Wards quickly overflowed, leaving many of the victims lying in shock on the floor, desperate for treatment. Another car bomber has blown himself up in northern Baghdad killing 11 people lined up to refill their gas canisters and two more bombs exploded shortly afterwards. One, near a Shit’ite cleric’s office, killed five people while six died in an attack on a police convoy.
Gunmen also dragged 17 Shi’ites from their homes and shot them in the northern suburb of Taji.