A suicide truck bomb exploded in a densely populated Shiite residential area in northern Iraq on Monday, killing at least 28 people, including 19 children, authorities said.
The attack occurred in the town of Tal Afar in a crowded neighborhood of the religiously mixed city, 260 miles northwest of Baghdad.
The powerful blast caused houses to collapse in the morning as many families were getting ready for the day ahead, and officials said the death toll could rise.
"Rescue teams are still searching for casualties among the rubble," said Ali Abbo, the head of the human rights committee.
He said the hospital in Tal Afar had been filled to capacity, forcing the ambulances to take many victims to Dahuk, about 45 miles to the north.
At least 40 others were wounded in the attack, said Brig. Gen. Rahim al-Jibouri, commander of Tal Afar police.
The attacker drove a dump truck filled with explosives and covered with a layer of gravel, Brig. Gen. Najim Abdullah said, adding that at least 19 children were among the 28 killed.
Tal Afar, which was cited by President Bush last March as a success story after major military operations against insurgents, has been the frequent site of Sunni extremist attacks in the past year.
Many of them stemmed from allegations by a 50-year-old Sunni Arab woman, who came forward last February and said Iraqi soldiers raped her when they raided her house searching for weapons. Sunni insurgents have kidnapped and killed dozens of Iraqi security officials in response.
The city also recorded one of the deadliest days since the start of the Iraq war, when at least 152 people died in truck bombings on March 27. That attack prompted Shiite militants and police to go on a shooting rampage against Sunnis, killing as many as 70 men execution-style.
At least 29 people were killed or found dead elsewhere in Iraq, according to police who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to disclose the information. Those included the bodies of five soldiers who had been ambushed by gunmen as they were on their way home for vacation the night before north of Tikrit and nine civilians killed by a roadside bomb that struck during rush hour in a predominantly Shiite area near Baghdad.
From NPR reports and The Associated Press