M A I N   N E W S

Suicide bombers kill 68 in Iraq
  Car bomb kills 10 in Riyadh     Al-Qaida hand seen
Abdel-Razzak Hameed

Basra (Iraq), April 21
Suicide bombers killed at least 68 persons, many of them children, in co-ordinated strikes on four police stations that inflicted bloody chaos on Iraq’s southern city of Basra today, officials said.

Basra Mayor Wael Abdul-Hafeez accused Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaida network of being behind the morning rush-hour blasts.

Near-simultaneous explosions hit three police stations in Basra and one in the town of Zubair, 25 km (16 miles) south of the mainly Shi’ite city, the British military said.

“All four attacks seem to have been carried out by suicide bombers,” said a British Defence Ministry spokeswoman in Basra.

Mr Hafeez told a press conference 68 persons, not including the bombers, had been killed and 99 wounded. Many of those killed were children who were going to school in a minibus that was incinerated in one of the car bombings.

A wounded Iraqi said: “I heard a blast. “I looked around and saw my leg bleeding and my neighbour lying dead on the floor, torn apart,” he said from his hospital bed.

The Mayor, speaking at the Basra police headquarters, said the police had recovered the remains of one bearded bomber. “We have arrested a person disguised in a police uniform. We are questioning him.”

A British military spokesman said there had been three explosions at Basra police stations at about 7:15 a.m. (0845 hrs IST). “They were vehicle-based improvised explosive devices.”

British officials said the Zubair blast killed three Iraqis and wounded four British soldiers, two of them seriously.

The explosions created panic across Basra, which had been relatively peaceful during this month’s surge of violence in other parts of central and southern Iraq.

RIYADH: At least 10 persons were killed and dozens wounded when a car bomb destroyed a Saudi security service building in the capital on Wednesday, witnesses said.

Officials in Riyadh described it as a ''terrorist attack'' and Arab television said the body of a suicide bomber had been found. One Saudi source said five car bomb attempts had been foiled in the past week but this, the sixth, got past tight security.

''The front of a building is blown off and smoke is still rising,'' a Reuters correspondent said from outside the building, which housed administrative offices for the security forces.

People on the scene said they saw 10 bodies and dozens of wounded being carried into ambulances. Fires raged long after the blast, which left a deep crater and a street carpeted in debris from the shattered six-storeyed building.

''We believe it is a terrorist attack,'' a Saudi Interior Ministry source said. — Reuters

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