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Latest Violence in Iraq Leaves Scores Dead, Many Without Power - 2004-09-14

A car bomb has killed at least 47 people in the Iraqi capital, while an attack on an oil pipeline in the north left much of the country without power.

The car bomb detonated in a busy neighborhood near a police station that also serves as a training center for police recruits in Baghdad. VOA's Patricia Nunan was on the scene to describe the devastation.

Nunan: "Rescuers pulled victims of the blast from the wreckage of market stalls, and amid body parts strewn across the road. The blast left a three-meter wide crater in the front of the police station on Haifa Street, where dozens of people had lined up to apply for jobs. While a U.S. helicopter circled overhead, some among the angry crowd at the site denounced the Iraqi interim government and others, the U.S. president, chanting 'Bush is a dog.'"

Meanwhile, officials in the Iraqi municipality of Baquba say militants opened fire on a van carrying policemen, killing 11 officers and their civilian driver. A message on an Islamist website claimed responsibility for both the Baghdad and the Baquba attacks.

Elsewhere, renewed clashes between U.S. forces and insurgents have been reported in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi, killing at least 10 people and wounding more than a dozen others.

More foreign hostages have been taken in Iraq, even as one was released. Iraqi officials say two Turkish truck drivers were abducted at gunpoint between Kirkuk and Tikrit in northern Iraq - the latest foreigners targeted for their participation in efforts to provide supplies for security and reconstruction efforts in the country.

Separately, a Turkish hostage was released, along with a videotape shot by his masked captors in which he professes to have converted to Islam and renounces the work he performed in Iraq.

Meanwhile, an attack on a pipeline in northern Iraq has melted cables leading to a power station, causing blackouts in parts of the country. Iraqi Minister of State Kasim Daoud condemned the latest attempt to cripple Iraq's infrastructure.

The minister said that terrorists targeted the pipeline and due to the heat, electricity was cut from vast areas of Iraq. He added that the perpetrators claim the legitimacy of Islam, but are regrettably terrorists whose acts will not go unpunished.

Iraq is struggling to lay the groundwork for elections planned for January. Speaking at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawer said everything is being done to keep the vote on schedule.

"We are working day and night to meet and respect the dates of the election in January, and unless it is impossible to hold it, we are going to hold the elections at that time," he said.

NATO officials say they are working to expand a training mission for security forces in Iraq.