Car Bomb Explodes in Iraq Killing 14

By Jackie Spinner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 30, 2005; 3:54 PM

BAGHDAD, Sept. 30 -- A car bomb exploded in a crowded vegetable market Friday morning in the already bloodied southern Iraqi city of Hilla, killing 14 people, including women and children, and wounding at least 50 others, a police official said.

The car, a Mercedes, had been parked near the market overnight, said Capt. Muthana Ahmed of the Babil Province police. Police sealed off the market area, where black funeral banners from an attack earlier in the week still hung outside shops. Blood pooled in the streets.

Meanwhile, the death toll in three coordinated bomb attacks in the northern city of Balad Thursday night rose to 85, said Qasim Hazim Qaisi, a physician at the city's main hospital. It was one of the deadliest insurgent attacks on Iraqi civilians since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

On Monday, a booby-trapped bicycle exploded in front of an ice cream parlor and juice bar in the same section of Hilla where Friday's bombing occurred. Five Iraqi civilians were killed and 49 were injured in that attack.

Hilla, a predominantly Shiite city of 600,000 residents, 55 miles south of Baghdad, has been the frequent scene of bombings in the past year. On Feb. 28, insurgents left an explosive-rigged car parked overnight outside a health clinic that went off the next morning, killing more than 100 people and wounding 200. It was the deadliest single attack on Iraqi civilians since the invasion. The bomb appeared to target potential government job applicants who had lined up at the clinic for mandatory blood tests.

Insurgents are waging a campaign of suicide bombings, shootings and assassinations to try to topple Iraq's U.S.-backed government. The country's new draft constitution, on which a referendum will be held Oct. 15, has heightened tensions between Iraq's Shiite majority and Sunni minority.

Both Balad and Hilla are predominantly Shiite cities. Al Qaeda in Iraq, whose leader Abu Musab Zarqawi has called for violence against Shiites, claimed responsibility for the Balad bombing, according to an Internet posting.

In the southern city of Basra, an Iraqi police convoy was ambushed late Thursday, killing four policemen and wounding one, according to the Associated Press.

And in Fallujah, hundreds of demonstrators protested the detention of an Iraqi woman by U.S. Marines. The military had no immediate information about the arrest, but residents of the city said the 24-year-old daughter of a prominent Fallujah lawyer, Taha Mahmood Jumaily, was arrested in a raid on the family's home early Friday morning.

Neighbors said the Marines were looking for his son, a member of the Fallujah Shura Council, which commanded insurgent forces battling U.S. troops in November.

The son was not in the house, neighbors said. The daughter, Batoul, and three neighbors were apprehended.

After word spread quickly about the raid, residents took to the streets to call for Batoul's release. Demonstrators staged a protest outside a mosque, but it was dispersed by Marines firing weapons into the air, witnesses said.

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