Bomb at Gas Station Kills Dozens in Iraq

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Saturday brings another flurry of deadly violence in Iraq. More than 50 people died and more than 80 people were wounded when a suicide bombing triggered the explosion of a fuel tanker near a mosque south of Baghdad.


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Jennifer Ludden.

There's been more deadly violence in Iraq today. A suicide bomber killed dozens of people in an attack near a gas station. The explosion was in the center of a town south of Baghdad. More than 80 people were reported wounded. This follows a series of other suicide attacks in the past few days. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro joins us from the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Lourdes, what can you tell us about this latest attack?


This latest attack has been the bloodiest in weeks here and it had a very high death toll, as you mentioned. What we know is that it was a suicide bomber and the explosion caused a fuel truck to blow up in the town of Musayyib, and Musayyib is in the so-called triangle of death where the insurgency is very active. It's seen a number of attacks in the past. This follows 10 bombings across Baghdad yesterday which started in the morning and ended at night, hitting mainly at Iraqi security forces and also at the US military. Over 30 people were killed in those attacks yesterday, which is not a particularly high death toll considering what we've seen today, but even so, a fairly spectacular show of force by the insurgency.

LUDDEN: Now two suicide bombers, though, apparently have been captured, which isn't something that happens a lot.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: No, it doesn't. The police say that today, a would-be suicide bomber was grabbed before he could detonate his explosives belt. The bomber, according to police, is Libyan. This is the second such person to be captured this week. Iraqi security forces outside the Green Zone caught one suicide bomber whose vest also failed to explode during what was meant to be a triple suicide bombing on Thursday. This is pretty rare. It's hard to catch these people. And these men would probably be considered important because they can provide the military and the Iraqis with intelligence on how these people are being recruited, how they get into the country and who provides them with their target and their training.

I've been out with US forces and before every mission now, they go through what to look for when they're driving through the streets so that they can spot a potential suicide car bomber. Soldiers say they look out for cars that look like they're low to the ground, for example, that seem to be carrying a suspiciously heavy load; also cars, obviously, that get too close to them. And they also say they watch out for men whose hands may be tied to the steering wheel, and this is because there has been intelligence that suggests and also after the bombings they have found evidence of this, that some of these people tie their hands to the steering wheel so they will not lose their nerve at the last minute when they ram themselves into their target.

LUDDEN: Now another unusual event. The US military came out today and said it was charging 11 soldiers with misconduct there in Iraq. What can you tell us about that?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, very little. The press release simply said that the military had charged 11 soldiers in a unit that served in Baghdad because of a complaint by another soldier that the group had assaulted detainees. The statement added that none of the insurgent suspects who were allegedly assaulted had required medical treatment.

LUDDEN: NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro in Baghdad, thank you.


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