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Sixty children 'missing' after Baghdad bombing


DPA, October 27, 2009

Baghdad- The governor of Baghdad, Salah Abdel-Raziq, on Tuesday said that as many as 60 young children may still be buried under rubble from devastating twin bombings three days ago. "Three days after the deadly blasts, there is no information about 60 children who were in a nursery affiliated with the Ministry of Justice," Abdel-Raziq told reporters in Baghdad.

Twin truck bombs outside the ministry killed at least 155 people and injured at least 500 more on Sunday.

The governor, who belongs to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shiite Dawaa Party, further called for a military tribunal "to hold the officers responsible for their slackness in leaving their places of duty" ahead of the bombings.

In a written statement sent to reporters Tuesday, the military roundly rejected the suggestion that children might still be buried under the rubble.

"There is no truth in reports that there are bodies under the rubble of the Ministry of Justice in Baghdad," a statement read. "All the martyrs and injured have been taken to hospitals."

The claims and counterclaims came soon after an al-Qaeda-linked group claimed responsibility for the blasts.

The statement, purportedly posted on Islamist websites by the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group encompassing Sunni insurgent groups including al-Qaeda in Iraq, called the bombings "the second phase in the fight against infidels."

The same group claimed responsibility for a coordinated string of attacks in central Baghdad that claimed the lives of more than 100 people, left 1,200 injured, and destroyed much of the finance and foreign affairs ministries on August 19.

Iraqi officials said the August and October attacks were carried out in a similar fashion.

Three armed men from the Islamic State of Iraq were arrested in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Tuesday, police told the German Press Agency dpa.

The three men were charged with "taking money by force from contractors and using them to finance attacks against civilians and police," police said.

The arrests came as insurgents continued to launch attacks in the city, which lies some 400 kilometres north of Baghdad.

On Tuesday a bomb killed at least three people and injured at least two more as a police patrol passed through the eastern Mosul district of al-Tahrir, police said.

It was the latest in a near-daily series of deadly attacks in the city, which is among the most ethnically and religiously diverse in Iraq.

Copyright DPA

:: Article nr. 59445 sent on 27-oct-2009 21:50 ECT


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