53 killed in twin bombings in Iraq's Diyala

11:06, March 27, 2010      

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The death toll from the twin bombings in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala on Friday rose to 53 with 105 people wounded, a provincial police source said.

"Our latest reports said that 53 people were killed and 105 others injured by the two bombings," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The blasts took place at sunset when a roadside bomb and a minibus loaded with explosives detonated in a quick succession at a busy street in the town of Khalis, near the provincial capital city of Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, the source said.

The massive blasts struck several popular restaurants and nearby shops, totally destroying 15 shops and restaurants and leaving several vehicles ablaze, damaging many others, the source said.

Earlier, the police put the toll at 20 killed and 55 injured by the blasts.

Diyala province, which stretches from the eastern edges of Baghdad to the Iranian border east of the country, has long been a stronghold for al-Qaida militants and other insurgent groups since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 despite repeated U.S. and Iraqi military operations against them.

The attack came about an hour before the Iraqi electoral commission announced that Iraqi secular leader Ayad Allawi came first in the preliminary results of the parliamentary elections which are expected to shape the future of the war-torn country, while two hours later, the commission said Allawi's bloc wins most seats in the full results of the elections.

Source: Xinhua
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