A suicide bomber struck Sunni and Shiite tribal leaders and high-ranking security officials touring a market after a reconciliation meeting west of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing 33 people in the second major attack in the capital area in two days.
Despite the ongoing violence, the top US commander in Iraq said he does not believe the Iraqi government will ask Americans to remain in the country past a 2011 deadline set by a security agreement between the two countries.
The bombing — which left clusters of bodies near the shabby market stalls lining a road — was part of a spike of violence that comes as the US military begins to draw down its forces.
The bomber detonated an explosives belt as the tribal leaders were walking through the market in the town of Abu Ghraib, accompanied by security officials and journalists, according to the Iraqi military.
Two Iraqi television journalists from the privately owned Baghdadiya station were among those killed in the attack. Four staffers of the state television network were wounded, one seriously, their station said. “I hid for a while, but then I raised my head to see scattered bodies, including women and children, and some surviving women and children were screaming out of fear,” Ahmed Ali, 33, said.