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Mortar Shell Hits Crowded Market Near Baghdad - 2003-09-26


A mortar shell has hit a crowded market in a town north of Baghdad, killing eight civilians and wounding at least 18 others. The source of the shell is not known, but the U.S. Army says it did not come from coalition forces. The incident happened as the funeral procession was getting under way for a slain Governing Council member.

The U.S. military says the mortar shell hit the market in Baqubah at the height of the Thursday evening shopping time.

U.S. troops rushed to the chaotic scene to give first aid to the most severely wounded. No U.S. soldiers were hurt.

Baqubah lies about 50 kilometers northeast of Baghdad in the still-restless region where resistance to the U.S.-led occupation remains active.

In Baghdad, meanwhile, mourners accompanied the coffin containing the body of assassinated Governing Council member Akila al-Hashimi, as it was transported for burial in Najaf, a southern city that is holy for Shi'ite Muslims.

The council has declared three days of mourning for Ms. al-Hashimi, who was one of three women on the 25-member council. She was fatally wounded in an ambush last Saturday, which council leaders blame on Saddam Hussein loyalists.

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