Second big blast in three days kills at least 33 in Iraq

McClatchy NewspapersMarch 10, 2009 

BAGHDAD — A suicide car-bomber killed at least 33 people early Tuesday afternoon in Abu Ghraib, the mostly Sunni Muslim community west of Baghdad that became infamous after U.S. service members were accused of abusing prisoners there early in the Iraq conflict.

Details were sketchy, but Iraqi security forces believe the bombing was the work of the radical Islamist organization al Qaida in Iraq. The bomber struck near a crowded marketplace, targeting a reconciliation conference of tribal sheiks.

It was not immediately known whether any of the sheiks were killed in the attack — the second mass casualty attack in three days after months of relative calm. Sunday, a bomber targeting a police recruiting office in downtown Baghdad's government sector, killing 28.

Security officials did not immediately know if there was a connection between the attacks.

An eyewitness of the blast said that even in often dangerous Abu Ghraib, he'd never seen anything like this explosion.

"I have seen a dog carrying human flesh, a shoulder, as another dog was eating part of a human leg covered with blood. Iraqi soldiers chased the dogs, trying to take these parts from them. I saw a human jaw thrown on the ground, and Iraqi soldiers refusing to allow to any one to pick it up. They said it belonged to the suicide bomber."

Abu Ghraib has long been a stronghold for Sunni insurgents opposed to the American presence in Iraq and is home to the prison where U.S. soldiers photographed themselves abusing Iraqi inmates in the early years of the war. Iraqi officials have since taken control of the prison, which has been remodeled.

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