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Bombing in Baghdad as Ramadan Observance Begins

  • Richard Green

At least 31 people were killed and dozens more wounded in a bomb attack Saturday morning in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The attack occurred as the Muslim world begins observing the holy month of Ramadan.

The bomb exploded in Sadr City, an Iraqi Shi'ite stronghold in Baghdad.

Officials say at least 24 others were wounded in Saturday's explosion near a kerosene fuel truck in the mainly Shi'ite district. Authorities say the bomb was apparently hidden in a barrel near a fuel tanker, where residents were lining up to buy fuel.

The bombing occurred hours before Iraqi Shi'ites were to begin observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a period marked by daylight fasting and prayers.

The U.S. military said this week it expects attacks in Iraq to increase during Ramadan.

Sunni Arabs in Iraq began observing the holy month on Saturday, after announcing the sighting of the new moon. Shi'ites are to begin marking Ramadan on Sunday.

Ramadan marks the time when it is believed that Allah first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad the first verses of the Koran, the holy book of Islam.

Elsewhere in Iraq, a U.S. citizen was killed in a rocket attack in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on Friday. The man was working as a contractor in Iraq for the U.S. State Department.

Meanwhile, Iraqi officials say their troops have captured the alleged leader of a militant Sunni insurgent group. Muntasir al-Jibouri was arrested along with two fellow insurgents Friday in the town of Muqdadiya, located about 80 kilometers north of Baghdad.

Al-Jibouri is said to be the leader of Ansar al-Sunnah, a group that has been linked to the 2004 suicide bombing at a U.S. military mess hall that killed 22 people. The group has also carried out a number of beheadings and assassinations.

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