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Death toll in bombings mounts to 195

world Updated: Apr 19, 2007 11:40 IST

DPA
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The death toll from Wednesday's violent blasts across Iraq has increased to 195 on Thursday.

Of the many bomb attacks, the three largest ones exploded in mostly Shia areas of Baghdad, making it one of the deadliest days in Iraq for years.

The European Union and the US condemned the attacks. In Tel Aviv, US defence secretary Robert Gates called the bombings "horrifying" and accused Al Qaeda of being responsible for the attacks.

In central Baghdad's Sadriya district, at least 140 people were killed and more than 150 wounded when a car bomb detonated, Voices of Iraq, a news agency reported citing a security source. The district is mostly populated by Shias.

The overcrowded Sadriya district, which contains a big number of markets and stores, has witnessed several attacks in the past. This attack followed three previous blasts around Iraq, which had killed at least 30 Iraqis.

A car bomb detonated in Mothafer Square near the Shia Sadr city east of Baghdad, killing at least 40 and injuring 45 others, according to the media reports.

In central Baghdad, a remote-controlled car bomb went off in the Karada district, killing 10 Iraqis. In other attacks in Baghdad, at least five more people were killed.

The attacks were launched despite intensified safety measures and the deployment since mid-February of 3,000 US and 10,000 Iraqi additional soldiers in Baghdad.

Joint US-Iraqi forces on Wednesday arrested Sheikh Ali Hussein al-Bayati, a leader of Sadr's office in Khalis district, along with 11 Mahdi army militiamen, including al-Bayati's brother. The detainees are accused of launching attacks on a sectarian basis.

Also on Wednesday, five terrorist suspects were killed and four others wounded, while 26 more were detained during an operation near Karmah, a rural area northeast of Fallujah, the US military announced on Wednesday.