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US representative office attacked in Iraq

india Updated: Nov 11, 2006 18:55 IST
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Car bombs exploded among shoppers in downtown Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least eight people, police said, while a mortar attack on the US government's representative office in central Iraq reportedly sparked a fire in part of the complex.

At last 20 others were injured when a pair of bombs hidden beneath two cars detonated at 8:45 at Hafidh al-Qadhi square, Lt Ali Musin of the Rissafa police station, said.

The area lies at the heart of Rasheed Street, Baghdad's main comercial center.

Victims were rushed to Baghdad's al-Kindi hosital, Muhsin said, adding that the death toll was likely to rise.

There was no immediate word on damage or casualties in the mortar attack on the US representative office in Hillah, at least the second on the office in recent weeks.

The office oversees government and diplomatic interests in the central Euphrates region, about 95 kms south of Baghdad.

Nine out of the ten mortar bombs fired landed inside the complex, police Capt. Muthanna Khalid Ali said, after which the area was sealed off by US and Iraqi forces.

US diplomats usually refuse to comment on such reports to avoid releasing sensitive information to insurgents.

Calls and e-mail seeking confirmation were not immediately returned by US Embassy spokesmen in Baghdad.

Inaccurate but highly mobile, the mortar is growing increasingly popular among Iraqi fighters because it can be fired from a secure location several kilometres from a target and then quickly hauled away or hidden.

Some insurgent groups mount the weapons on pickup trucks, remaining in constant motion except when firing.

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