Over 60 killed in Baghdad market blast (Lead)

June 25th, 2009 - 6:10 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Baghdad, June 25 (DPA) More than 60 people were killed and at least 150 wounded Wednesday when a bomb exploded at a crowded market here, media reports said.
The explosion, which took place in the Maridi market in eastern Sadr City area of the Iraqi capital, left 62 people dead and 150 injured, security sources told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani “vehemently condemns the attack”, according to a statement from his office.

The bomb was planted in a motorbike, security sources told DPA. Earlier reports said the bomb was concealed under a vegetable cart.

Iraqi police sealed off the area while the sirens of ambulances transporting the victims were clearly heard, according to witnesses. The huge explosion damaged a number of shops and set some parked cars ablaze.

“Today’s market explosion is a great shock,” former Iraqi parliamentarian Fattah al-Sheikh told DPA.

The attack - one of the deadliest so far this year in Iraq - comes less than a week before US soldiers withdraw from Iraqi cities, as part of President Barack Obama’s promised staged pull out from Iraq.

Al-Sheikh said that the perpetrators of the attack do not want US troops to leave the country. He described the incident as “an open invitation for the US troops to stay in Iraq”.

Wednesday’s attack was the second deadly bombing in Iraq in less than a week.

At least 65 people were killed Saturday when a truck packed with explosives detonated outside a mosque near Kirkuk. Another 175 people were wounded.

Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, have recently been reiterating warnings that fresh attacks might accompany the US troop withdrawal.

“Many don’t want us to succeed … They are making their plans in the shadows to destabilise (Iraq). But we will defeat them,” al-Maliki said in a recent speech.

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