Suicide car bomber hits central Baghdad commercial district

A busy commercial district of Baghdad was struck by a suicide car bomber. At least 21 people were killed and 66 injured, police and hospital officials said.

The bomb went off at 2 p.m. (1200 GMT) in the Sinak commercial district on the east side of the Tigris River. It went off near the Abdul-Qadir al-Gailani mosque, a Sunni shrine that is also revered by Shiites.

In another incident, police said that a roadside bomb killed two people and injured another nine when it detonated under a parked car in the central Baghdad district of Bab al-Muadham.

Associated Press Television News footage showed dozens of astonished people at the scene of the Sinak explsoion as they walked around charred cars and debris that littered the scene. Firefighters in yellow helmets were struggling to extinguish the fire as ambulances were rushing to evacuate the wounded.

Ghaith Karim, a 38-year old Shiite cloth merchant, was heading to the bus station near Sinak to travel to his home in eastern Baghdad when he saw fire ball and heard the loud blast.

"It was tremendous. I felt the ground was shaking," said Karim. "When I reached the scene, I found legs, charred pieces of bodies and pools of blood. Casualties were being evacuated by civilian cars. Firefighters battled to extinguish the fire."

Three traffic policemen were among the wounded and at least eight civilian cars were damaged in the busy market area, police said.

The cleric in charge of the mosque, Mahmoud al-Issawi, said the blast also damaged the building's dome, while the footage showed damage to its minaret.

"The enemies of Iraq are the only one who get benefit out of that bombing. These enemies have targeted our homeland, religion and our brotherhood," al-Issawi told Iraqiya TV.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova