A huge truck bomb killed more than 100 people and wounded 250 in a crowded market in northern Iraq on Saturday, one of the deadliest attacks in the country this year, police said.
Colonel Abbas Mohammed Amin, the police chief in Tuz Khurmato, said he feared the toll would rise after the bomb leveled dozens of shops and small houses.
"There are still bodies under rubble. We are trying to dig them out," Amin told Reuters, putting the death toll at more than 100. Other police in the town said 105 people were killed.
There had earlier been conflicting reports about the toll in Tuz Khurmato, a largely Shi'ite town, with other police and local officials saying 30 people had been killed.
The bombing was a blow to a US backed security crackdown in Iraq, and underscored the ability of militants to stage large-scale attacks despite the arrival of nearly 30,000 additional US troops.
U.S. officials blame most major car bombings on Sunni Islamist al Qaeda, which they say is trying to spark full-scale civil war between majority Shi'ites and minority Sunni Arabs.
Jasim Ali, 30, said he looked frantically for his wife when he heard the explosion in Tuz Khurmato.
"I ran to the market and saw burned cars along with dead and wounded people everywhere. I screamed until I found my wife. She was wounded in the head and her hand," said Ali, his clothes stained with his wife's blood.
In other violence, the US military reported eight of its soldiers were killed in the past two days, mostly in and around Baghdad.