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Suicide Blast at Baghdad Funeral of Bomb Victim Kills Dozens
As often happens, other witnesses gave varying accounts. A cook at the funeral said he believed that there were two bombs and that the explosives had been smuggled into the funeral under the long robes of two strangers whom he greeted as they came in, according to a senior Iraqi Interior Ministry official who had spoken to the cook.
Whatever the details, neighbors who rushed to the house found a scene of shocking carnage. The windows of the house were shattered, and smoke billowed from the burning tent.
"I saw a lot of bodies," said Raad al-Jumaidi, who lives nearby. "Some of them were injured and still alive, hardly breathing. We were taking the injured out. We pulled out a body without a head. I know him. He lives on the next street over."
"We thought Zayouna and Baghdad had become safer, but it will never be," said Samar Muhammad, 33, a neighborhood resident.
Such attacks had become noticeably rarer in Baghdad starting this past summer, before violence rose again as the year neared an end. Tuesday's attack was the deadliest since 15 people died in an animal market Nov. 23.
The general fall-off in violence has coincided with the deployment of 30,000 additional U.S. soldiers in Iraq. This December, about 600 Iraqi civilians were killed, down from 3,000 in December 2006, according to U.S. military figures.
The number of American soldiers killed has also fallen sharply during the past six months. In December, 23 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq, according to http:/
Also Tuesday, the U.S. military said that an Apache helicopter firing Hellfire missiles and guns killed nine suspected insurgents during an operation Monday targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters in Arab Jabour, southeast of Baghdad. This area became a focus last year in the U.S. offensive known as the surge because it had no Iraqi security forces and was therefore frequently used by insurgents to plan and execute attacks.
Special correspondent Naseer Nouri in Amman, Jordan, contributed to this report.