Suicide blast leaves 15 dead in Iraq

Suicide blast leaves 15 dead in Iraq

No group claims responsibility for attack on tourist restaurant

 Elsewhere, two Iraqi soldiers were killed and 10 others wounded when a bomb attached to a military bus exploded at an army base in Habaniya, around 85 km west of Baghdad, Saad and army sources said. Bombings and killings occur on a daily basis in Iraq more than eight years after the US-led invasion although violence has dropped from the peak of sectarian fighting in 2006-07.

The first incident occurred outside the Ehsan tourist restaurant, a popular rest-stop by a main highway for people traveling through al-Hamza, located just south of Hilla, 100 km south of Baghdad.

“I was in the kitchen when suddenly I heard a blast. I heard loud screams, and the sound of people running. I left the kitchen and went outside to see people covered in blood, lying on the ground,” said Tahsin Mahmoud, a worker in the restaurant’s kitchen. “It took a long time for Iraqi security forces to reach the scene.”

The front of the restaurant was destroyed, with shattered glass on the floor and blood stains covering food, chairs and tables inside the place.

Deputy Health Minister Khamis al-Saad put the toll at eight killed and 36 wounded. An army source reporting the bombing in Habaniya said: “The soldiers finished their academic training and a bus took them to have breakfast at the restaurant in the base. When the bus reached the restaurant it exploded.”

Army sources had initially said 15 soldiers had been killed and 20 others wounded, but said later that the toll was less.

“The first report we received said it was a bomb attached to a bus transporting soldiers. There were around 40 soldiers on board the coach. They said 15 killed, 20 wounded,” an army source at the operations center in Anbar province said.

“We received other reports after this with a higher toll. But when we checked with the Habaniya military hospital, they said we only received two dead and 10 wounded,” sources said.

Strangely, no group has taken responsibility for the attacks.

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