BAGHDAD, Iraq, AP -A suicide car bomb exploded in a crowded market in northwest Iraq on Tuesday, killing 30 Iraqis and wounding 45, police said. A second suicide car bomb exploded at an Iraqi army checkpoint in western Baghdad, killing nine people, mostly soldiers, police said.
The market blast went off at about 11 a.m. in Tal Afar, 260 miles northwest of Baghdad, in the town”s main marketplace, said Brig. Najim Abdullah, Tal Afar”s police chief.
He said the victims of the attack appeared to be civilians. No Iraqi security forces or U.S. soldiers were in the area at the time, he said.
Abdullah first said the blast was caused by a car bomb set off by remote control, but later said police examining the scene determined it was a suicide car bomber.
The Baghdad blast occurred at about noon, killing eight Iraqi soldiers and one civilian, said police Capt. Qassim Hussein. Twelve soldiers were wounded.
Tal Afar, 95 miles east of the Syrian border, is located in an area where Iraq”s Sunni-led insurgents have been active, making it difficult for coalition forces to maintain security in a large northwestern region of Iraq stretching to the Syrian border.
On Sept. 28, a woman suicide bomber attacked an Iraqi army recruitment center in Tal Afar, killing at least six people and wounding 30. The woman, wearing men”s clothing as a disguise, detonated her hidden explosives while standing in line with job applicants outside the center.
That attack appeared to be carried out in retaliation for a major offensive by U.S. and Iraqi forces that had routed insurgents in Tal Afar Sept. 8-12.
Iraqi authorities claimed that nearly 200 suspected militants were killed and 315 captured during the offensive. But when they completed the sweep, they discovered many of the insurgents had slipped out, some of them through a network of underground tunnels.