It looks like dozens of people may have been killed in explosions at a busy market in the Iraqi city of Basra.
There is confusion over the cause. Early indications were that a power generator blew up. Reports spoke of two or three blasts.
Two security sources have said at least one explosion was a car bomb. Earlier the local police chief said the generator had malfunctioned.
Basra is southern Iraq’s main city, some 500 kilometres from Baghdad. It has been relatively free of the insurgent violence that has afflicted the capital.
More than a hundred people were taken to hospitals. Someone at the city’s morgue said had least 25 bodies had been taken there. A security source said 45 people had been killed.
The head of Basra’s security committee said the authorities did not know at this stage whether this was a terrorist attack or something else.