Middle East News
16 construction workers killed in Najaf suicide bombing (Roundup)
Feb 21, 2007, 14:11 GMT
Baghdad - At least 28 people died in violent incidents in Iraq on Wednesday, among them 16 construction workers killed by a suicide car bomber in the holy city of Najaf, 180 kilometres south of Baghdad, officials and sources said.
A government spokesman in Baghdad additionally revealed that security forces in the capital had killed 42 suspected terrorists and detained 330 others in the past week under the new security plan for the city.
The crackdown had allowed some 642 families forced from their homes by extremists to return to their dwellings, the spokesman said.
Wednesday's blast in Najaf saw a car bomb attacker target a gathering of construction workers in the busy commercial Midan Street in central Najaf, taking 16 lives along with his own.
The explosion also wounded 38 people, among then five police officers, and damaged a number of buildings and stores in the area. Police forces cordoned off the area as paramedics and fire brigades rushed to the scene, witnesses said.
Midan Street is 500 metres away from the holy shrine of Imam Ali bin Abi Taleb, the most important Shiite shrine in Iraq.
In Baghdad, three Iraqis were killed and 11 others wounded in a car bomb blast near a gas station in a south-western suburb.
In another incident, one police officer was killed and three others wounded when an explosive device targeting a patrol in Karada district detonated, an Iraqi police source said. No further details were immediately available.
Also Wednesday, the US army said seven suspected terrorists were killed in raids in Ramadi and Baquba. Thirteen more suspected Sunni extremists were taken into custody.
A US soldier was also killed the previous day by insurgents in the restive province of Anbar, a statement said.
Meanwhile a report in Arab newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat on Wednesday revealed that the death penalty is being handed down on a more frequent basis in Iran than in other Arab countries.
Quoting information from the Iraqi higher judicial council, the paper said that 234 people were hanged in Iraq last year, while 13 Iraqis were sentenced to death in the past week alone.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur