Suicide blasts kill 33 in Iraq

BAQUBA: Three powerful co-ordinated suicide attacks in the central Iraq city of Baquba killed at least 33 people and wounded 55 today, just days before nationwide parliamentary elections. The blasts, the deadliest to hit the country in nearly a month, spurred police to clamp an immediate curfew on the city, 60 km north of Baghdad and one of Iraq’s biggest.

The attacks came despite heightened security across the country ahead of Sunday’s

vote and after the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), Abu Omar

al-Baghdadi, threatened to disrupt the election by “military means.” Two near-simultaneous suicide vehicle bombs ripped through the provincial housing department’s offices and a nearby traffic intersection, while a man later blew himself up at Baquba’s main hospital where victims were being treated.

“The three bombings killed 33 people,” a security official

from Baquba operations

command said.

“The (third) bomber tried to blow himself up against the police chief when he came to see the wounded in the hospital.” Police chief Major General Abdul Hussein al-Shimmari escaped unharmed but members of his personal security team were wounded. Diyala provincial health chief Dr Ali al-Timimi was also injured.

An advisor to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Ali al-Mussawi, said “terrorists” were bent on disrupting Sunday’s vote.