Suicide bomber kills 20 people in northern Iraq
At least 70 others were injured when a suicide bomber blew up his vehicle in a busy market in Tel Afar in Iraq.india Updated: May 10, 2006 12:22 IST
At least 20 people were killed and 70 injured when a suicide bomber blew up his vehicle in a busy market in Tel Afar in northern Iraq, said a police official.
Most of the victims Tuesday were women and children, said Wathik al Hammadani, the police commander of Ninive province. The explosive device was hidden under a cargo of flour in the vehicle.
Tel Afar is about 480 km north of Baghdad and remains a centre of armed extremist groups, despite several military offensives and raids by US and Iraqi troops in the past months.
Elsewhere in Iraq, a leading cleric and sermon leader at a Sunni mosque in Baghdad's southern suburbs was shot dead by unidentified assassins.
According to eyewitnesses, armed men shot Sheikh Raad Mohammad Al Deleimy, the leading cleric of Al Furqan Sunni Mosque in the Al Sayyediya District of southern Baghdad.
Eyewitness reports said that the armed assailants fled the scene immediately.
The (Sunni) Association of Moslem Scholars "strongly condemned" the assassination of Sheikh Al Deleimy in an official statement posted on its website shortly after the attack.
The statement went on to denounce the killings of innocent civilians including clerics and sermon leaders.
In Basra, a group identifying itself as the national front for the liberation of Iraq claimed responsibility for bringing down a British military helicopter that killed five British soldiers last Saturday.
In a statement quoted in the Tuesday issue of pan-Arab daily Al Hayat, the group's leader, Mousa al-Hadithy, said that his members exchanged fire with British troops and caused their helicopter to crash, without specifying exactly how they downed it.
The statement called on British troops to immediately withdraw from the city, warning that failure to comply would incur "detrimental results".
The pamphlet also called for Iraqi resistance groups to coordinate their efforts to "conduct the necessary battle" to "liberate the country".