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Powerful Terror Blast Kills At Least 13 in Baghdad - 2004-06-14


At least 13 people, including several Westerners have been killed in Baghdad after a vehicle loaded with explosives plowed into a convoy carrying foreign contractors. Monday's attack was the second of its kind in as many days and came just days before Iraqis are set to take control of their country's security from the U.S. led military coalition.

Iraqis converged on the burning vehicles destroyed in Monday's Baghdad blast, some shouting 'down with the USA'. VOA Correspondent Alisha Ryu in the Iraqi capital reports the attack also demolished a nearby apartment building.

"Along with several shops nearby by a blast so powerful it shook buildings several kilometers away. Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi told reporters the suicide bomber targeted Western electrical engineers in the convoy," she reported.

"We deplore this terrorist act and vow to get the criminals responsible to justice as soon as possible," Mr. Allawu said.

The American company General Electric said three employees of a G.E. subsidiary working to rebuild Iraq's power system were among those killed, along with two security personnel.

A U.S. military spokesman says an American, two Britons and a Frenchmen were included among the dead. Colonel Robert Campbell told reporters no one has been arrested. "It is unknown exactly who [did this] or why this happened," he said.

A second car bomb went off Monday southeast of Baghdad, this one reportedly killing four more people. Both blasts, as well as another on Sunday that left at least 12 people dead, follow the assassinations of two members of the new interim Iraqi government, including the country's deputy foreign minister, who was shot dead Saturday.

In just a little over two weeks time, Iraqi authorities will be in charge of their country's security when power is transferred on June 30. But following Monday's Baghdad car bombing, witnesses say Iraqi police did little to secure the crime scene or to stop demonstrators who surrounded the blast site from hurling stones at American troops.

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