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Death Toll Rises After Car Bomb Explosions in Baghdad


Two separate carbombings in Baghdad have claimed at least 11 lives, and wounded more than 30. Bombings in the past month have Iraqis worried about the stability of their country, just weeks before U.S. troops are due to pull out of most Iraqi cities.

Men picked through the debris of a car bombing in a Baghdad fruit and vegetable market in the mostly Sunni-Muslim Dora District. Trucks smoldered as smashed tomatoes and eggplants littered the once lively market.

Looking dazed and disheveled, bystanders cried out, repeatedly, "It is not possible. How awful, how awful." One man began pulling dead pigeons from a smashed crate, throwing the birds back again.

Ali, a vegetable vendor who witnessed the blast, lamented over its aftermath:

The truck entered the market and people were slaughtered. Porters, grocers and farmers do not deserve to be killed.

Police reports say the bomb was hidden in a truckload of vegetables, waiting to be unloaded.

The head of Security for Baghdad, General Qassim Mohammed Atta told journalists a second bomb hidden in another truck was dismantled by police before it was detonated. He said the bombers wanted to use it to cause another wave of carnage among those who came to the rescue.

Eyewitnesses at the market blast complained that Iraqi security forces were being too lax about searching cargo trucks carrying produce. One man said they only search private cars, not farmers who are bringing their produce to market.

The early morning blast was followed hours later by a second explosion in Baghdad's Karradah district, killing at least one person and wounding half a dozen others.

Interior Ministry spokesman General Abdal-Karim Khalaf says the bombings will be thoroughly investigated. He says crimes of this sort demands that we investigate what caused them. The investigation will begin in detail, he adds, and the justice system will look into the reasons behind the bombings and who the perpetrators are.

The bombings followed an extremely bloody month of April in which 355 Iraqis were reportedly killed. Most of those blasts targeted predominantly Shi'ite areas, giving rise to fears of a new round of sectarian fighting.

U.S. troops are due to pull out of Iraqi cities by the end of June and the resurgence of violence has ordinary citizens worried.

Despite the renewed violence, Iraqi leaders have been insisting that they are capable of maintaining order in the country and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said recently there would be no change in plans for U.S. withdrawals.

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