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Archive for Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Suicide attack kills 33; U.S. blames al-Qaida

March 11, 2009

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— A suicide bomber struck Sunni and Shiite tribal leaders touring an outdoor market after a reconciliation meeting in a Baghdad suburb Tuesday, killing up to 33 people in the second major attack in the capital area in three days.

The bombings are raising fears that Sunni insurgents may be escalating operations as the U.S. phases out its combat role in Iraq and prepares to withdraw troops from cities by the end of June.

The attacks also suggest that insurgents are capable of exploiting weaknesses in Iraqi security procedures. The Iraqis have been relatively successful in curbing huge truck bombings that were common years ago — but less so against other tactics.

More than 40 people were wounded Tuesday when the bomber detonated an explosives belt as tribal leaders, security officials and journalists strolled through the market in the town of Abu Ghraib, site of the infamous prison at the center of the 2004 detainee abuse scandal.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but U.S. and Iraqi officials blamed al-Qaida.

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