A suicide bomber sped into a Shia village and blew up a truck packed with explosives unleashing a massive blast that killed 30 people and pulverised mud-brick homes in northern Iraq on Monday.
The bomber detonated his deadly charge in Al-Quba after driving across farmland, flattening homes, killing 30 people and wounding dozens, the mayor of nearby town of Tal Afar, Major General Najim Abdallah, said.
“It was filled with a huge amount of explosives. Twenty houses were destroyed, 10 of them entiely wiped out,” said Abdallah, speaking from the town 20 kilometres away that scrambled the nearest emergency services.
Witnesses spoke of seeing foam to make mattresses sticking out of the truck to disguise the explosives hidden underneath, when the truck went off road and sped across farmland to the village of 7,000 inhabitants, Abdallah said.
Bodies were pulled out of the rubble of flattened homes in the village whose nearly 200 houses are built mostly from mud, and the victims ferried to hospitals as far away as the neighbouring Kurdish province of Dohuk, he said.
“I was sitting at home when I saw a big truck speeding along. I went outside to watch and suddenly it exploded, its contents flung everywhere,” 50-year-old Abu Qassim said from his hospital bed in the northern city of Mosul.
“My house was destroyed. My wife and four of my children were injured as well as me,” he said.
Bombings are increasingly common in villages, as militants flee to rural backwaters away from thousands of US and Iraqi security forces cracking down on Baghdad and other flashpoint cities under a five-month-old security plan.
Taxi driver Abu Hamid said he was chatting to his cousin in Quba when he spotted the vehicle at a distance.
“I was amazed to see a tuck moving across farmland because it would destroy the plants. The truck hit a building before blowing up. The explosion was a disaster,” he said, also in a Mosul hospital.
Attacks elsewhere killed another 15 people in Iraq, including nine wiped out when a roadside bomb ripped through an unofficial stop for one of the battered minibuses used by thousands of people in Baghdad.
The device, hidden on the side of the road, blew up after a minibus stopped to collect waiting passengers in the Diyala Bridge neighbourhood in the southern suburbs, security officials said.
Shrapnel sprayed the area as Iraqis got on and off the minibus shortly before the main rush hour, and as others stood waiting for a different line.