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US Military Blames Baghdad Fuel Truck Explosion on Traffic Accident - 2003-12-17


The U.S. military says an explosion in Baghdad early Wednesday was caused by a traffic accident, not a car bomb as originally reported. The military has also revised the death toll downward, saying only 10 people were killed in the blast, rather than the earlier reported figure of about 17.

A U.S. military spokesman says explosives experts have examined the site of Wednesday's blast and determined that no explosives were found.

The military says a fuel tanker truck crashed into a minibus packed with early morning commuters and exploded. Several nearby cars were incinerated, and body parts could be seen strewn around the area.

The blast occurred about 6 a.m. Wednesday in Baghdad's al-Bayaa district and was powerful enough to shake the ground several kilometers away.

Iraqi police initially said a car bomb had blown up in the middle of an intersection in a residential neighborhood, on its way to what they believed was its intended target, a police station located about two kilometers down the road.

A wave of suicide attacks has hit Iraqi police stations and U.S. military bases since coalition forces captured Saddam Hussein on Saturday. There have also been a series of violent pro-Saddam protests in towns where support for the ousted Iraqi leader is strongest.

The U.S. Army says its troops raided one of those towns, Samarra, on Tuesday and captured more than 70 suspected insurgents, including the leader of a guerrilla cell.

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